Fewer Americans Overwhelmed by Medical Bills
Reduced use of medical care, early health care reforms may be easing financial worries
WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans still feel hamstrung by medical expenses, a new government report shows that some people are getting relief.
The share of people under age 65 in families reporting problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months dropped from 21.7 percent in the first half of 2011 to 19.8 percent in the same period in 2013, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That still leaves 52.8 million people who say they or members of their families were having problems paying medical bills, or were unable to pay those bills, in the past year.
The report draws data from the long-running National Health Interview Survey, which collects health information from family members in each surveyed household. The new analysis is based on household interviews with nearly 227,000 people.
"Almost five million fewer people than two and a half years ago are in families having problems paying medical bills," report co-author Robin Cohen, Ph.D., a statistician with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told HealthDay.