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Health insurance rate is high, but so is medical debt


Commonwealth Fund lists 18 states where the largest percentage of the population has medical debt.

Medical debt “is a crisis for the insured and uninsured alike,” according to a new study by The Commonwealth Fund.

The nonprofit devoted to health care access published “2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance: Americans’ Health Declines and Access to Reproductive Care Shrinks, But States Have Options.”

At a 91.6% coverage rate, more Americans than ever had health insurance in 2022, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But many people still struggle with medical debt, according to The Commonwealth Fund, for two reasons:

  • Even with record coverage, 8.4% of the population does not have health insurance. That means millions of people remain uninsured.
  • Many people with health insurance are underinsured, meaning they still fact high costs for health care.

Underinsurance may affect almost 25% of the population, and in 2022, 39% of them were paying off medical debt. Around the nation in February 2022, there were 230 million people with credit reports and nearly 13% had medical debt in collections.

In 2021, there was an estimated $88 million in medical debt on consumer credit records, totaling 58% of all debt collection entries on credit reports. It was the largest single source of debt in the nation, according to The Commonwealth Fund.

Every state’s population had some measurable level of medical debt, with the lowest being 2.4%. This slideshow lists the states where at least 16% of the population has medical debt, according to The Commonwealth Fund’s 2023 Scorecard.

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