Those who were uninsured or who had public coverage were about twice as likely as those with private coverage to have problems paying medical bills.
Fewer Americans report having problems paying their medical bills, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The percentage of people under the age of 65 in families having problems paying medical bills dipped from 21.7 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 20.3 percent in the first six months of 2012. The CDC study also found that within each six month period from January 2011 through June 2012, children up to age 17 were more likely than adults aged 18-64 to be in families having problems paying medical bills.
The percentage reporting having problems paying medical bills decreased for both age groups. Among children 17 and under, the percentage of those in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.7 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 21.8 percent in the first six months of last year. Among adults ages 18-64, the percentage decreased from 20.9 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 19.7 percent in the first six months of 2012
In total, at the start of 2012, 54.2 million - or roughly 1 in 5 - people in the United States were struggling to pay their medical bills.
The CDC defines medical bills as bills for doctors, dentist, hospitals, therapists, medication, equipment, nursing home or home care.
Health and aging issues are of heightened concern to Main Street investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million, not including primary residence, according to a first quarter wealth level study conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. The health of one’s spouse, responsibility for aging parents, spending one’s final years in a care facility and a family health catastrophe were most likely to be ranked as their No. 1 personal concern.
In the first six months of 2012, among persons under the age of 65, more than one-third (36.3 percent) of those who were uninsured, 14 percent of those who had private coverage, and 25.6 percent of those who had public coverage were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
Related story: Medical costs forcing Americans to put off treatment. Click here to read more.
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Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.