News from the FDA/CDC

Fewer people having problems with medical bills


The number of people under age 65 years who were in families having trouble paying medical bills dropped by more than 22% from 2011 to 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

For the first 6 months of 2016, there were 43.8 million people, or 16.2% of the population under age 65 years, who were in families that had problems paying medical bills in the past year, which was down from 56.5 million (21.3 % of the population) in 2011, the NCHS reported.

Persons under age 65 in families with problems paying medical bills
Most of the drop took place by 2015, however, as the difference between 2015 (44.2 million) and 2016 was not significant, the NCHS noted.

The drop was consistent across race/ethnicity lines, but not the start and endpoints. The percentage of non-Hispanic blacks in families having trouble paying their medical bills dropped from 27.3% in 2011 to 23% in 2016, although there was actually a small increase from 2015 to 2016. Hispanics dropped from 24.3% in 2011 to 17.4% in 2016, non-Hispanic whites dropped from 19.8% to 15.1%, and non-Hispanic Asians went from 11% to 6%, according to data collected from 579,379 people for the National Health Interview Survey.

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