Revenue Cycle

Health coverage does not protect against incurring medical debt

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, September 2, 2009

Health insurance does not safeguard people against medical debt in California, where one in seven non-elderly adults is trying to pay off healthcare bills in excess of $2,000. Of those with debt, 1.4 million, or two-thirds, have health coverage.

"More than 2.2 million Californians, or 13% of nonelderly adults, reported having medical debt," according to the survey, "The State of Health Insurance in California." Among those 2.2 million, 17% had debts from $2,000 to $4,000; 9.4% were paying debts between $4,000 and $8,000, and 8.7% had debt about $8,000.

The nation's largest state health survey was conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which conducted telephone surveys of 50,000 California residents between June 2007 and early March 2008. The survey is part of a biennial project, but its release sends a message to those trying to craft health reform proposals, the authors said.

Source: HealthLeaders Media.

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