HealthDay News — Fewer American families are struggling to pay their medical bills, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
NCHS researchers Robin Cohen, PhD, and Jeannine Schiller, MPH, used information from the National Health Interview Survey from January 2011 through June 2015 for the new report, which was released Tuesday. During the first 6 months of 2015, about 44.5 million people under 65 (16.5%) had problems paying their medical bills. That number was down from 56.5 million (21.3%) in 2011.
The authors also found that fewer children were in families that had trouble paying their medical bills. In 2011, 23.2% of children under 17 lived in families that had difficulty paying for medical care. During the first 6 months of 2015, that percentage had dropped to 18.1%. In the first 6 months of 2015, 29.8% of Americans younger than 65 without insurance were in families that had trouble paying medical bills in the past 12 months; 21.8% of those with public insurance and 12.7% of those with private insurance who were under 65 were in families that had difficulty paying medical bills in the past year.
In the first 6 months of 2015, about one-quarter of those who were poor or near-poor and under 65 were in families that had trouble paying for health care in the past year. Of those who weren’t poor, just 12.2% were in families that had problems with their health care bills in the previous year, according to the report.
Cohen RA, Schiller JS. Problems paying medical bills among persons under age 65: Early release of estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2011–June 2015. National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/releases.htm.