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Medical Debt

Medical debt can be more emotionally stressful than other types of debt because it almost never accrues by choice. Medical debt is most often a product of an unforeseen illness or accident. It can add up quickly and unexpectedly, while amplifying the health problems that caused it. We’re here to help you understand medical expenses, medical debt, and how to deal with bills you can’t afford.

Get Help With Your Medical Debt
Busy Hospital

Average Daily Hospital Costs

$3,949

Average Annual Nursing Home Rate

$82,673

Money Spent on Health Care in 2011

$2.7 trillion

Medical Costs & Debt

Medical debt can stem from any medical expenses, from regular checkups to emergency room visits. It varies based on factors like your insurance coverage and your medical needs, but it’s important to deal with it immediately.

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Seniors & Medical Debt

Medical debt is particularly common among seniors, who may already be dealing with mortgages or credit card debt. In addition, they must think about Medicare, assisted living, hospice and other health-related expenses.

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Health Insurance Costs

Medicare covers about half of health expenses, but remaining payments often come from enrollee's private insurance. Medicaid, the U.S. government’s health care insurance program for low-income individuals, also supplements costs.

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More on Medical Debt

The Cost of Medical Care

About 85 percent of Americans had health insurance in 2012, with more than half of them being covered under employer-sponsored insurance. However, America still spent $2.7 trillion on health care that year, working out to $8,700 per person. This was an increase of 3.9 percent from the previous year, the same increase seen in the previous two years. This increase allowed it to remain at 17.9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

Difficulty with Medical Debt

Americans have significant trouble when it comes to paying for their medical treatments. Often, they are already deep in debt, thanks to credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. One study found that in 2010, 30 million Americans had medical bills in collection, compared with 22 million in 2005. Another study found that a full 40 percent of American adults have had trouble paying their medical bills. But there are options for dealing with those bills. Debt.org can help.

Bill Fay

Author

Bill Fay

Bill Fay is a journalism veteran with a nearly four-decade career in reporting and writing for daily newspapers, magazines and public officials. His focus at Debt.org is on frugal living, veterans' finances, retirement and tax advice. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

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