After having read my colleague Devon Herrick’s Health Alert discussing the New York Times’ survey (conducted with the Kaiser Family Foundation) of adults having trouble paying medical bills, I had a look back and compared the 2015 results to those a similar survey from 2005. The results are almost exactly the same!
Despite a large decrease in the proportion of working-age people categorized as “uninsured” (even though many have actually become dependent on Medicaid, a joint state-federal welfare program, instead of actual insurance) one quarter of us still have trouble paying medical bills.
- In 2015, 15 percent spent “all or most” of their savings on medical bills. In 2005, it was 12 percent.
- In 2015, 10 percent “borrowed money from friends or family” and nine percent “increased credit card debt.” In 2005, eight percent reported “borrowing money or taking out another mortgage.”
- In 2015, 32 percent “put off/postponed getting health care you needed.” In 2005, 29 percent of adults report “they or someone in their household skipped medical treatment, cut pills, or did not fill a prescription in the past year because of the cost.”
- In 2015, three percent declared personal bankruptcy because of medical bills, the same as 2005.