Friday, March 9, 2012

One in three Americans has a hard time paying medical bills

A new survey shows difficulty paying medical bills is widespread across the nation. During the first half of 2011, one in three people lived in a family that had trouble paying medical bills during the previous year, were paying a medical bill over time or had a medical bill that they were not able to pay at all, the National Center for Health Statistics found.

The survey demonstrates people with incomes just more than the federal poverty level were the most likely to struggle with medical bills. Among respondents in that "near-poor" category, 45.8 percent had difficulty paying for medical care. Coverage of the survey is available from NPR.

Senate Bill 12-134, the Hospital Payment Assistance Act, addresses the issue and helps working families who cannot afford insurance to responsibly pay their hospital bills. The bill is awaiting a final vote by the Colorado Senate, after which it will begin hearings in the House. Follow developments with the bill between editions of Health Law and Policy Update at CCLP's Hospital Payment Assistance Program action center.

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