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EMBARGOED until: June 4, 2013

Contact: CDC Media Relations, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

Fewer Americans having problems paying medical bills

The percentage of people under age 65 in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 21.7 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 20.3 percent in the first six months of 2012, according to a report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The report, “Problems Paying Medical Bills: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January 2011-June 2012,” also found that within each six month period from January 2011 through June 2012, children aged 0-17 years were more likely than adults aged 18-64 years to be in families having problems paying medical bills.  Medical bills are defined as bills for doctors, dentists, hospitals, therapists, medication, equipment, nursing home or home care.

However, the percentage having problems paying medical bills decreased for both age groups. Among children aged 0-17 years, the percentage of those who were 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 2012.  Among adults aged 18-64 years, the percentage in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 20.9 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 19.7 percent in the first six months of 2012.

Other findings include:

  • In the first six months of 2012, among persons under age 65, 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.
  • During January 2011-June 2012, people under age 65 who were uninsured and those who had public coverage were about twice as likely as those who had private coverage to be in families having problems paying medical bills.

The report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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