Families Who Have Problems Paying Medical Bills

NCHS has released a report on comparable estimates for the percentage of persons under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills, by selected demographic variables based on data from three consecutive 6-month periods from January–June 2011 to January–June 2012 of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

In this report, an NHIS “family” is defined as an individual or a group of two or more related persons living together in the same housing unit. Thus, a family can consist of only one person. In some instances, unrelated persons sharing the same household may also be considered as one family, such as an unmarried couple living together.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • The percentage of persons under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 21.7% (57.8 million) in the first 6 months of 2011 to 20.3% (54.2 million) in the first 6 months of 2012.
  • Within each 6-month period from January 2011 through June 2012, children aged 0–17 years were more likely than adults aged 18–64 to be in families having problems paying medical bills.
  • The percentage of children aged 0–17 years who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.7% in the first 6 months of 2011 to 21.8% in the first 6 months of 2012.
  • In the first 6 months of 2012, among persons under age 65, 36.3% of those who were uninsured, 14.0% of those who had private coverage, and 25.6% of those who had public coverage were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
  • In the first 6 months of 2012, 30.3% of poor, 34.1% of near poor, and 14.1% of not poor persons under age 65 were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
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