I’m going to share a little secret with you guys … for some reason, people don’t seem to be interested in articles related to consumers’ problems paying their medical debts. Personally, I think that the insights from these studies can help with talk-offs and understanding where consumers are coming from when you’re talking with them on the phone, and can help influence collection strategies, but that is clearly not the case because very few people read these posts. So, to test something new, I am just going to dump all the data and hope that you find something interesting in it. Without further ado, here is a summary of a nationwide survey conducted by U.S. News & World Report:
- 37% of those with medical debt are struggling to pay bills.
- The debt often originates from necessary medical procedures like emergency care (45%), diagnostic tests (29%), surgery (18%), mental health care (18%), prescription medication (18%), and planned doctor or specialist visits (18%). Dental care also contributed to the debt for 25% of respondents.
- Four out of five patients with medical debt owe at least $1,000, with 48% owing $5,000 or more.
- 81% of respondents had health insurance at the time they incurred their medical debt, but their insurance plan only covered a portion of the costs for 48% of them.
- 59% of respondents are paying interest or fees on their medical debt. Payment methods include credit card debt (30%), medical credit card (15%), medical loan (11%), and buy now, pay later services (12%).
- 69% of respondents have avoided seeking healthcare due to financial reasons, and 53% knew they would go into debt when they received medical services.
- 81% say medical debt is holding them back from other financial goals, with 37% struggling to pay bills and 32% struggling to repay other debts.
- 90% of respondents with medical debt are stressed about repaying it, with 23% being “extremely” stressed.
- 52% of respondents didn’t attempt to negotiate their medical bill before paying it, but of those who did try to negotiate, 79% saw their bill reduced or certain fees dropped.