You may be surprised to hear this, but according to a Feb. 12 report, the total number of people who are struggling to pay back what they owe in medical bills has dropped during the last decade. Why? Part of the reason is believed to be the Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has stated that the number of families struggling to pay medical expenses is only 14% for 2018. In 2011, the total was closer to 20%.
Why is that good news? The NCHS found that households that didn’t need to struggle to pay medical bills were more likely to have firmer financial footing overall.
Previous studies had shown that not being able to pay for medical bills often led to other problems, such as not being able to afford food or having trouble paying rent. It was even linked to an increase in bankruptcies.
As uninsured rates declines, there were more people who had access to care at a more affordable rate. Better coverage made it more likely that people could pay their medical bills and avoid being trapped under expenses that were seemingly impossible to cover.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who still struggle. Women, children and black Americans are still more likely than other groups to live in a family that is struggling to pay medical bills. Today, if you’re someone who is struggling to make ends meet because of large medical bills, you don’t have to face it alone. There are alternatives that you can use to help you get out of debt.