The percentage of U.S. residents who reported having trouble paying medical debt fell between 2011 and 2013, according to an interim report by the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC’s Division of Health Interview Statistics, a department in the National Center for Health Statistics, found that nearly five million fewer U.S. residents reported problems with medical debt in the first six months of 2013 versus the same period in 2011. The CDC projects that 52.8 million persons in 2013 experienced difficulty with medical expenses owed versus 57.6 million in 2011.
The drop occurred in all surveyed demographics–male, female, poor, uninsured, young adult–although some groups, such as those receiving public healthcare coverage, experienced larger drops. Those with private insurance or insurance from employers experienced the smallest change in percentage.
According to the CDC survey, the percentage of individuals reporting problems paying medical bills followed a similar trend, declining from the high in the first six months of 2011 through the first six months of 2012, then experiencing a slight increase in the last six months of 2012 before dropping again in the first six months of 2013.
What follows, according to the CDC, are the highlighted results of the survey:
- The percentage of persons under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 21.7 percent (57.6 million) in the first 6 months of 2011 to 19.8 percent (52.8 million) in the first 6 months of 2013.
- Within each 6-month period from January 2011 through June 2013, children aged 0–17 years were more likely than adults aged 18–64 to be in families having problems paying medical bills.
- The percentage of children aged 0–17 years who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.7 pecent in the first 6 months of 2011 to 21.3 percent in the first 6 months of 2013.
- In the first 6 months of 2013, among persons under age 65, 34.3 percent of those who were uninsured, 24.7 percent of those who had public coverage, and 14.1 percent of those who had private coverage were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
- In the first 6 months of 2013, 28.6 percent of poor, 33.3% of near poor, and 14.3 percent of not poor persons under age 65 were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.