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25 Percent Of U.S. Families Struggled To Pay Medical Bills

Update Date: Jan 29, 2014 09:03 AM EST
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25 percent of U.S. families struggled to pay medical bills in 2012 while 10 percent of them said they had costs they couldn't pay at all, according to a recent government survey. 

The survey performed by National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted the lack of health insurance was the cause behind increased burden of the medical debt. 

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is going to take effect completely this year, and a health-care coverage will be extended to most of the nation's 48 million uninsured by Obama administration. 

"Unpaid medical bills is the number one reason why families declare personal bankruptcy," said Karen Pollitz, a fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and lead author of a separate study on medical debt, to Bloomberg. "It causes people to lose equity in their homes, to endanger their retirement and their kid's college education. It will destroy a family financially."

However, the health coverage alone is not able to prevent medical debt. Survey also found that families whose every member were insured, 21 percent of them were having difficult in paying medical bills. 

The study performed by Kaiser Family Foundation found that around 70 percent of people reporting problems with medical debt were already insured. Cost-sharing was the leading contributor to the debt, as typical out-of-pocket costs were higher for health bills than the amount of cash most households had available, reported Bloomberg

"There will continue to be millions of people in health plans with deductibles in excess of what they have on hand," Pollitz added. 

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