GetInsured Nationwide Survey examines Americans’ ongoing struggle with medical costs and debt
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – May 17, 2022 – Public sector healthcare IT leader GetInsured today announced the purchase and retirement of $2.7 million in medical debt burdening American families across seven states: Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington. A recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 1-in-10 American adults were in some form of medical debt (owing more than $250 in health care costs). This debt acquisition marks GetInsured’s sixth such purchase in partnership with the non-profit RIP Medical Debt, totaling more than $9.6 million for 5,571 patients.
“Today’s medical debt purchase is a continuation of our charitable efforts to highlight and relieve an economic burden carried by millions of families across the country. Americans are nearly $88 billion in medical debt, which could be exacerbated when the nation’s Public Health Emergency inevitably ends and an estimated 15 million people lose the Medicaid coverage they’ve had the last two years,” said Chini Krishnan, co-founder and CEO of GetInsured. “Other Americans are bracing for higher premiums that may cause them to forego health care coverage altogether. It is imperative that federal and state policymakers and health officials work to make sure people are aware of their options. We’ve made tremendous progress on ensuring Americans are covered, let’s not turn back the clock.”
To better understand the public’s level of health insurance knowledge, average medical debt, and their impact on future medical decisions, GetInsured recently administered a nationwide survey in conjunction with the medical debt buy. The survey found that despite record-level health insurance enrollment this year, many Americans still struggle with the cost of health insurance premiums and are also unaware of subsidies available that may lessen the financial burden. The findings are particularly important as it is critical that Americans are aware of their health care options given the inevitable end of the PHE and the expected increased premiums should the American Rescue Plan’s subsidies expire. Among the survey’s findings:
- Nearly half (46.2 percent) of respondents indicated having medical debt now or within the past five years:
- 24 percent noted they had more than $1,000 in medical debt
- 3 percent had more than $5,000
- Of those with medical debt, 57.5 percent said it impacts their decisions on whether or not to get treatment for medical care going forward.
- Only 6.5 percent of respondents were uninsured (down from 8.5 percent a year ago from a similar survey)
- However, 41.6 percent of those uninsured listing “too expensive” as the top reason they didn’t have coverage, but a whopping 62.1 percent were not aware of government subsidies available to them to get more affordable coverage.
“Medical debt is a persistent problem that we must address sooner, not later. Millions of Americans gained affordable health insurance coverage over the past two years thanks to federal relief programs, but those programs will likely phase out in the coming months, opening up the possibility of more Americans taking on additional medical debt,” added GetInsured’s Krishnan. “We encourage state agencies to be forward-thinking and to put plans in place to unwind and process redeterminations to ensure that the medical debt issue in this country does not worsen. Congress should also consider extending subsidies so that more Americans can afford appropriate health coverage.”
GetInsured teamed up with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization, to locate and purchase the medical debt. Those who will benefit from GetInsured’s donation earn less than two times the federal poverty limit and have spent more than five percent of their gross income on medical bills. Also helped by the debt purchase were those who are insolvent due to medical debt, meaning they owe more due to medical expenses than assets they own.