Medical debt is a serious issue in the United States, negatively affecting physical and mental health as well as the U.S. economy. According to KFF Health News, around 100 million Americans have medical debt, posing a serious challenge to our healthcare system. Medical debt can result in many difficulties for those who are facing it, including delayed treatment for physical and mental health challenges because of an inability to pay, decreased personal and household wealth, and a less robust economy as consumers limit spending due to unwanted debt.
Medical debt can come to both insured and uninsured individuals and disproportionately affects lower income Americans. Medical debt can cause individuals to reduce household spending, use personal savings, and make other efforts to tackle their debt, leading to significant financial burdens. It also adversely affects mental and physical health and can lead to even greater healthcare complications down the road. Addressing this issue is crucial for both financial stability and personal health.
The good news is that there are resources available that will help people deal with medical bills and debt. U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Community Catalyst have released a guide to dealing with medical bills that include options for those who have insurance and those who do not currently have insurance. This guide can help those struggling with medical debt to deal with the challenges facing them. Additionally, consumers can contact their representatives in the state legislature and in the U.S. Congress and urge them to pass legislation addressing medical debt relief.