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CDC Report: Fewer Americans Having Problems Paying Medical Bills

Rates down slightly from 2011 (June 4)

The percentage of people under age 65 in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 21.7% in the first 6 months of 2011 to 20.3% in the first 6 months of 2012, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report also found that within each 6-month period from January 2011 through June 2012, children aged 0 to 17 years were more likely than adults aged 18 to 64 years to be in families having problems paying medical bills. Medical bills were defined as bills for doctors, dentists, hospitals, therapists, medication, equipment, nursing homes, or home care.

However, the percentage having problems paying medical bills decreased for both age groups. Among children aged 0 to 17 years, the percentage of those who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.7% in the first 6 months of 2011 to 21.8% in the first 6 months of 2012. Among adults aged 18 to 64 years, the percentage in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 20.9% in the first 6 months of 2011 to 19.7% in the first 6 months of 2012.

Other findings include:

  • In the first 6 months of 2012, among persons under the age of 65, 36.3% of those who were uninsured, 25.6% of those who had public coverage, and 14.0% of those who had private coverage were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
  • During January 2011 to June 2012, people under the age of 65 who were uninsured and those who had public coverage were about twice as likely as those who had private coverage to be in families having problems paying medical bills.

Sources: CDC; June 4, 2013; and NCHS Report; June 2013.

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