This summer, GetInsured conducted its first-ever Medical Debt Survey in the state of Minnesota. The company did this to better understand the medical debt situation in Minnesota, and how ordinary residents are dealing with it. As it turns out, in Minnesota, as in other states across America, medical debt is a big problem. An individual or a family with medical debt can face tremendous consequences – many will be driven into poverty, as a result.
One of the most important facts we uncovered from the survey is that nearly 60 percent of respondents reported receiving a medical bill that came as a surprise or was difficult to pay. And 87 percent of respondents are at least somewhat concerned about high medical bills in the future.
In fact, in order to pay for unexpected or high medical bills, Minnesotans surveyed cited general savings (45 percent), vacation / recreation (36 percent), grocery spending (28 percent) and even retirement savings (20 percent) as areas where they needed to cut back. These individuals and families are experiencing financial strain, due to the increasing cost burden of the high cost of health care.
To alleviate those Minnesotans facing severe financial hardship due to health care costs, GetInsured was able to retire $1,065,587 of medical debt in Minnesota through a contribution to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity that locates, buys and forgives medical debt on behalf of donors. Earlier this year, GetInsured retired nearly $2 million of medical debt in California.
Families that experience a significant medical event may face large bills they cannot afford. And given the complexities of insurance, including which providers are in and out of network, many Minnesotans – and Americans around the country – will continue to encounter unexpected or surprise medical bills, unless policymakers take action.
This is why it is so important to find the right health insurance plan. While the root causes of medical debt need to be addressed on a government level, our mission, as a company, is to make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care with a health plan that best suits their needs. MNsure, the Minnesota State Based Marketplace is already using the GetInsured decision support tool to assist Minnesotans to enroll in the plan that’s right for them. Check it out here.