Majority Of Americans Unable to Cover a $400 Emergency Expense

By Consumers for Quality Care, on May 24, 2023

Majority Of Americans Unable to Cover a $400 Emergency Expense

Most Americans lack the ability to cover an emergency expense of $400 or more, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and reported by Bloomberg.

Less than 50 percent of U.S. consumers said they would have the means to immediately cover a $400 emergency expense. Just over 50 percent of consumers answered that they would need to borrow or sell something, including 17 percent who said they would not be able to pay for any sort of emergency expense.

The poll highlights that despite job growth across the country, many Americans are just one emergency away from sinking into debt. John Leer, The Morning Consult’s Chief Economist, noted that despite “two really strong years of jobs growth and … lower-income earners actually experiencing more rapid wage growth, … there is still a group of predominantly lower-income adults who are extremely vulnerable.”

The study found that over half of respondents have experienced such an emergency in the prior month, with medical expenses being the most frequent expensed incurred, second only to vehicle-related costs.  

CQC remains deeply concerned about medical debt in America and the impacts it has on consumers and society. CQC urges lawmakers and the Biden administration to address the root causes of medical debt and protect consumers.