More than 25% of individuals have had a medical bill turned over to a collection agency in the past 12 months, according to the results of a survey that were released yesterday. The survey was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, a non-partisan research institution.
More than twice as many African-American individuals (44%) than Caucasian individuals (22%) have reported a medical debt turned over to a collection agency in the past year, according to the survey. More than one-third of Hispanics reported having a medical debt turned over to a collection agency. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said they received a bill in the past 12 months for a procedure or healthcare services that they thought were covered by insurance.
Nearly one-third of individuals have borrowed money or used their credit cards to cover healthcare procedures and services.
More Americans are actually afraid of paying for medical care than they are of getting sick in the first place, according to the survey. In fact, many individuals are either skipping going to the doctor or dentist, or choosing not to have prescriptions filled because of the cost. Nearly 40% of those surveyed said they have used up all or most of their savings to pay for healthcare costs.