100 Million People in America Are Saddled With Health Care Debt
The U.S. health system now produces debt on a mass scale, a new investigation shows. Patients face gut-wrenching sacrifices.
Upended: How Medical Debt Changed Their Lives
People talk about the sacrifices they made when health care forced them into debt.
Más de 100 millones de personas en el país, con o sin seguro de salud, tienen deudas médicas. Saber navegar un complejo sistema de facturación y “trampas” puede ayudar a saldarlas sin caer en bancarrota, o evitarlas.
Medical bills can add stress to the already stressful experience of dealing with a medical crisis. And if you can’t pay those bills, they can linger, wreaking havoc on your financial goals and credit. Here’s how to protect yourself.
NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” interview KHN’s Noam N. Levey about the problem of crippling medical debt in America.
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
CBS Evening News spotlights Jim and Cindy Powers, who faced crippling medical debt.
Medical debt is most prevalent in the Southeast, where states have not expanded Medicaid and have few consumer protection laws. Now, North Carolina is considering two bills that could change that, making the state a leader in protecting patients from high medical bills.
Marcus and Allyson Ward explain to “CBS Mornings” how the premature birth of their twins left them with $80,000 in medical debt. A new KHN-NPR investigation reveals they are among 100 million people afflicted financially by the U.S. health system.
La investigación revela un problema mucho más extendido de lo que se había informado anteriormente. Esto se debe a que gran parte de la deuda que acumulan los pacientes figura como saldos de tarjetas de crédito, préstamos familiares o planes de pago a hospitales y otros proveedores médicos.
One Chicago woman gave birth to twins 10 weeks prematurely, and the children needed extensive care. The medical bills topped out at around $80,000. Desperate, the parents loaded up credit cards, borrowed from relatives, and delayed repaying student loans.
Sherrie Foy had surgeries and medical complications that produced about $850,000 in bills. The Foys ended up declaring bankruptcy. “They took everything we had.”
Edy Adams had just graduated from college when she was sexually assaulted in 2013. After getting examined at an ER, she received calls from debt collectors for years over a $131 bill. “I was being haunted by this zombie bill.”
Joe Pitzo was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2018. After surgery, the bills topped $350,000. “This just took a major toll on my credit,” Joe said. “It went down to next to nothing.”
Even though one Colorado woman had health insurance, she was swamped with $250,000 in medical debt from surgeries for a twisted intestine. “It was five years of hell,” said her husband.
A small infection related to diabetes on one New York man’s foot set off a cascade of medical emergencies and financial struggles that his family is still struggling to cope with.
One seriously ill Arizona man was denied care because of past-due bills. His only choice was to go to the ER, where he was stuck with thousands of dollars of additional bills he couldn’t pay.
Today, debt from medical and dental bills touches nearly every corner of American society.