A new survey from GetInsured looks at Virginians’ ongoing struggle with medical costs and debt
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and RICHMOND, Va. , Dec. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Public sector healthcare IT leader GetInsured today announced the purchase and retirement of over $1 million in medical debt burdening 2,043 Virginians. This debt acquisition marks GetInsured’s seventh such medical debt purchase in partnership with the non-profit RIP Medical Debt, now totaling more than $10.6 million for 7,614 recipients nationwide. One of GetInsured’s goals is for as many Americans as possible to have access to affordable high quality health care; working with RIP Medical Debt to alleviate financial barriers to health care access is a key component of GetInsured’s mission.
“GetInsured’s medical debt purchase in Virginia is a continuation of our charitable efforts to mitigate the economic burden of medical debt on Americans and bring light to this pervasive issue. Nearly one in ten Americans have at least $250 of medical debt, and nearly one in seven Virginians have medical debt in collections. Many more are likely feeling the impact of rising inflation on their ability to pay for medical expenses,” said Chini Krishnan, co-founder and CEO of GetInsured. “We are thrilled to once again partner with RIP Medical Debt, an organization that that has purchased billions in unpaid debt helping more than four million families.”
To better understand the impact that medical bills have on the public, GetInsured recently administered a survey of more than 500 Virginia residents in conjunction with the debt buy. The survey found that more than half of Virginians surveyed (50.4 percent) indicated having medical debt now or within the past five years. About 27.7 percent of those responding had more than $1,000 in medical debt and 9.3 percent had more than $5,000. Medical debt is not unique to Virginia. These findings are in line with previous surveys GetInsured has run in other states, such as Nevada and Pennsylvania.
The findings are particularly important as inflationary pressures continue and many uninsured Virginians say they remain without coverage. Roughly 21.8 percent of those uninsured listed “too expensive” as the top reason they didn’t have coverage, but a whopping 57 percent were not aware of government subsidies available to them to get more affordable coverage. With the state launching its own health insurance exchange in 2023, health insurance premiums are likely to decrease, helping residents get the coverage they need to keep medical costs down. In addition, the Commonwealth plans to run a robust education campaign on the benefits of Virginia’s new state-run exchange.
The survey also found that 57.1 percent of those with medical debt said it impacted their decisions on whether to get treatment as needed. What’s more, 82.7 percent admitted that their medical debt has caused them to cut back on spending or affected their ability to pay for necessities. Roughly 30 percent said it affected their ability to pay for food and groceries and 19.9 percent of those with medical debt said it affected their ability to pay for their rent or mortgage.
Those Virginians 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 for medical expenses than their total amount of assets.
GetInsured, a Vimo company, is a leading technology provider for state-based exchanges, offering an ACA-compliant cloud-based SaaS technology platform and integrated consumer assistance center operations. GetInsured’s roster of clients includes Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, California, Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington. The award-winning SaaS platform processed enrollments for 3 million consumers for plan year 2022, which represents approximately 70 percent of all state-based marketplace enrollments. GetInsured was also recently awarded the contract to establish and support Virginia’s new state-based health insurance exchange – a transition that is expected by fall of 2023.