About 20% of consumers have had medical bills sent to a collection agency in the past year, and many of them are not happy with their providers for doing that, according to the results of a nationwide survey.
Nineteen percent of individuals in the United States have received collection notices from medical providers in the past year. More than one-third of Millennials and one-quarter of the members of Generation Z have been sent to collections for unpaid medical debts, according to the results of the survey. Of those who have been sent to collections, 62% said they feel more negatively toward their healthcare provider afterwards.
More than half of the respondents to the survey said that paying medical debts has been stressful and 92% claimed the stress has affected their physical and mental well-beings.
The average consumer receives 70 medical bills and statements per year, and more than one-quarter of consumers find the explanation of benefits, medical bills, and figuring out how much they owe too difficult to understand.
One-third of consumers said that out-of-pocket costs and deductibles are unaffordable, and that percentage climbs the further down the credit spectrum you go. For example, 44% of individuals with credit scores under 669 said that deductibles are unaffordable.
One-quarter of consumers said that receiving an unexpected medical bill makes them never want to go to the doctor again.
“Affordability challenges are taking a real toll, not only on the financial health of patients but their physical and mental health as well,” said Tom Policelli, the chief executive officer of HPS/PayMedix, which commissioned the survey. “It is particularly tough on people with lower credit scores and worsens the gap in health equity. The bad news is that the disjointed nature of our healthcare system has made it hard for consumers to even understand the financial side of their care. The good news is that there are holistic solutions that deliver efficiency to the system and affordability to consumers.”