By Consumers for Quality Care, on September 6, 2023
The study found that nearly 1 in 4 middle-class consumers, or 17 million people, have medical debt. One of the main reasons these consumers sink into medical debt is because many do not qualify for Medicaid or for charity care from medical providers. Although these consumers are more likely to address medical issues and proactively seek care instead of delaying treatment, they are the least likely to receive any type of financial assistance. On the other hand, although consumers with lower incomes are more like to skip or delay treatment, they “are only slightly less likely to have medical debt,” according to the study.
As Third Way shared in its report, “Medical debt busts the budgets of all kinds of families and limits their access to care but, surprisingly, it hits the heart of the middle class most often. Nearly 17 million (23.5%) middle-class people had medical debt in 2020, higher than the 22% of lower-income people. Even one out of eight higher-income people had medical debt.”
CQC urges lawmakers and the Biden administration to work together and enact policies to protect consumers from going into medical debt for seeking the care they need.