Wednesday, September 23, 2020

50% of Americans Fear Medical Bankruptcy

There's more to fear than coronavirus. There's bankruptcy to fear as well, bankruptcy caused by mounting medical bills for treating coronavirus. Half of Americans are afraid of such a financial catastrophe. According to a Gallup survey fielded in July 2020, fully 50 percent of the public is concerned/extremely concerned that a major health event in their household could lead to bankruptcy. In 2019, a smaller 45 percent felt this way. 

Those most likely to be concerned/extremely concerned about bankruptcy due to a major health event are people under age 50 (55 percent) and non-whites (64 percent). Since 2019, the fear of bankruptcy has grown the most for these two groups as well—up 12 percentage points for non-whites, up 12 percentage points for 18-to-29-year-olds, and up 9 percentage points for 30-to-49-year-olds. Those least concerned with going bankrupt due to medical bills are people aged 65-plus (40 percent). Thanks, Medicare!

Overall, 15 percent of Americans have medical debt they will be unable to pay off in the next 12 months. Those most likely to have long-term medical debt are non-whites (20 percent), and households with incomes below $40,000 (28 percent). 

"The sharp rise in U.S. healthcare costs, which was already a significant problem for Americans before the Covid-19 pandemic, has only been exacerbated by new challenges presented by the outbreak," Gallup concludes.

Source: Gallup, 50% in U.S. Fear Bankruptcy Due to Major Health Event

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