Nearly 1-in-5 Americans have medical debt. Overcoming this $141 billion crisis will not be easy, but we believe it can be done.
Key Facts to Know
17.8% of Americans have medical debt
About 25 million American households (19%) struggle to pay medical debt in full
Average medical debt in 2020 was $2,024
Debt crisis is the worst in the South
27.9% of Black households have medical debt compared to 17.2% of White households and 9.7% Asian households (US Census)
Households with children under age 18 are more likely than those without children to carry medical debt (US Census)
Though these statistics are overwhelming, the news is not all bad. In states which expanded Medicaid, medical debt has declined by 44% since 2014, a 4.5x decrease compared to states that did not expand Medicaid. And households with full health insurance coverage have a median medical debt of $2,000, whereas households without full insurance coverage have a median debt of $3,000. This indicates that by expanding insurance coverage in the United States, we can reduce the medical debt burden and fortify our economy.
While reducing the nation’s overall medical debt will require expansive policy changes that provide medical insurance to everyone, there are actions that you can take today to lessen your own medical debt and prevent it from accruing in the future. You might even qualify for charity care, which can drastically reduce your medical bills.