Nearly 60 percent of Minnesota survey respondents received a medical bill that came as a surprise or was difficult to pay off, according to the first-ever Minnesota Resident Medical Debt Survey by GetInsured, a leading provider of health insurance marketplace technology. In an effort to alleviate those facing severe financial hardship due to health care costs, the company retired $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.
“Medical debt is an issue of tremendous consequence, as we know that it can drive middle and working class families into poverty,” said Chini Krishnan, co-founder and CEO of GetInsured. “While the root causes of medical debt undoubtedly need to be addressed by policymakers, 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.“
Nearly one-third (30 percent) of the Minnesota residents surveyed owed more than $1,000 in medical debt within the past five years, while half (52 percent) declined or did not seek medical treatment for themselves or family members out of fear of what it might cost.
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. The survey also revealed that 87 percent of survey respondents are at least somewhat concerned about high medical bills in the future.
“Individuals and families throughout the state of Minnesota experience financial strain due to the increasing cost burden of the high cost of health care,” said Lynn Blewett, Professor of Health Policy at the University of Minnesota. “Sixty percent of Minnesotans enrolled in high deductible health plans average copays of $30 per visit. Families faced with a significant medical event may face large bills that they cannot afford; and the complexities of insurance, including which providers are in and out of network, can result in unexpected or surprise medical bills, or families simply foregoing needed care. I applaud GetInsured’s act of giving and community participation – every bit helps.”
Through this contribution, GetInsured targeted those Minnesotans who are insolvent due to medical debt, meaning they owe more due to medical expenses than assets they own. GetInsured also targeted those earning less than two times the federal poverty limit, and those who have spent more than five percent of their gross income on medical bills. They are located across the state of Minnesota.
The 2019 Minnesota Resident Medical Debt Survey was conducted online in June 2019 among 390 adults who reside in Minnesota. As GetInsured continues to tackle medical debt in a state-by-state effort, the company is encouraging its consumers and partners to support this cause nationwide by donating directly here.