Problems Paying Medical Bills, 2018

February 12, 2020

Questions for Amy Cha, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Problems Paying Medical Bills, 2018,”

Q: What was the significance of studying persons in families having problems paying medical bills?

AC: Previously published data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that in 2017 one in seven persons under age 65 was in a family having problems paying medical bills. Persons who are in families with problems paying medical bills may also experience serious financial consequences, such as difficulties paying for food and housing, or filing for bankruptcy.


Q: How did the data vary by gender, race and age groups?

AC: The percentage of persons who were in families having problems paying medical bills was higher among females, children aged 0-17 years, and non-Hispanic blacks than among males, adults, and other racial and ethnic groups, respectively.


Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you?

AC: We were surprised that almost 30% of uninsured children and 27% of uninsured adults (aged 18-64) were in families having problems paying medical bills.


Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?

AC: The data for this report came from the 2011-2018 NHIS, a nationally representative, household survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population. NHIS is a multipurpose health survey conducted continuously throughout the year by the National Center for Health Statistics. Most interviews are conducted in person in respondent’s homes.


Q: What is the take home message for this report?

AC: The percentages of persons who were in families having problems paying medical bills varied by health insurance type. Among persons under age 65, those who were uninsured were more likely that those with Medicaid or private coverage to have problems paying medical bills, and among adults aged 65 and over, those with Medicare and Medicaid, and Medicare only were more likely than those with Medicare Advantage or private coverage to have problems paying medical bills.


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 18–64 Years with a Usual Place for Health Care by Race/Ethnicity

February 7, 2020

Although the percentage of Hispanic adults aged 18–64 years who had a usual place to go for medical care was higher in 2018 (74.1%) than in 2008 (67.3%), Hispanic adults remained the least likely to have a usual place to go for medical care.

Non-Hispanic white adults were the most likely to have a usual place for medical care in both 2008 (85.0%) and 2018 (85.5%).

In 2008, 78.7% of non-Hispanic black adults had a usual place for health care compared with 80.4% in 2018.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2008 and 2018 data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6905a6.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 25 Years or Older Who Had Seen a Health Care Professional in the Past 12 Months and Who Easily Understood Information from Their Health Care Providers Most or All of the Time by Sex and Education Level

November 15, 2019

In 2017, 91.6% of adults aged 25 years or older easily understood information from their health care providers most or all of the time.

The percentage of adults who easily understood health care information most or all of the time increased as education level increased.

Adults who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher were the most likely to understand their health care providers at least most of the time (93.9%), whereas those without a high school diploma were the least likely (85.2%).

Men (91.0%) were somewhat less likely than women (92.1%) to have easily understood information from providers most or all of the time.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6845a6.htm


Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January – March 2017 National Health Interview Survey

September 21, 2017

Questions for Tina Norris, Ph.D., Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January – March 2017 National Health Interview Survey.”

Q: Were there any findings that surprised you in this early release report?

TN: It is hard to say with quarter 1 findings that anything is truly “surprising” because estimates are based on a smaller sample sizes and could fluctuate a bit before settling down by the time we have a full year’s worth of data to analyze.


Q: Are there any trends in this report that Americans should be concerned about?

TN: Obesity is an epidemic that has seen a steady increase since 1997 and now affects just under one third (32.0%) of U.S. adults.


Q: Can you define what the health measure “usual place to go for medical care” means?

TN: Having a “usual place to go for medical care” is based on the question, “Is there a place that you usually go to when you are sick or need advice about your health?” If there was at least one such place, then a follow-up question was asked: “What kind of place [is it/do you go to most often]—a clinic, doctor’s office, emergency room, or some other place?” Adults who indicated that the emergency room was their usual place for care were considered not to have a usual place for health care.


Q: What do the findings in this report tell us about access to healthcare?

TN: Since 2010, the percentage of uninsured persons has decreased by almost 50% (16.0% vs 8.8%), and the percentage of persons who had a usual place to go for medical care increased from 85.4% in 2010, to 88.8% in January–March 2017. These two indicators demonstrate increased access to healthcare from 2010 through the first quarter of 2017.


Q: How do you collect your data for these surveys?

TN: The data is collected by household interview surveys that are fielded continuously throughout the year by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Interviews are conducted in respondents’ homes. Health and socio-demographic information is collected on each member of all families residing within a sampled household. Within each family, additional information is collected from one randomly selected adult (the “sample adult”) aged 18 years or older and one randomly selected child (the “sample child”) aged 17 years or younger. NHIS data is collected at one point in time so we cannot determine causation. Data presented in this report are quarterly data and are preliminary.


New Infographic Featuring Data on Medical Care Access, Flu Vaccination and Dentists

May 1, 2017

The fourth Health, United States Spotlight from the National Center for Health Statistics is now available online. This infographic features data on medical care access, supply of dentists, and flu vaccination coverage.

The Health, United States Spotlight is released throughout the year and features indicators available in Health, United States—an annual report on the nation’s health submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and Congress. Each infographic provides up-to-date estimates, technical notes, description of trends, and data highlights in a visual format.

For more information on past and present infographics, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus/hus_infographic.htm.


State by State Health Data Source Updated on NCHS Web Site

April 19, 2017

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has updated its Stats of the States feature on the NCHS web site.  This resource features the latest state-by-state comparisons on key health indicators ranging from birth topics such as teen births and cesarean deliveries to leading causes of death and health insurance coverage.

Tabs have been added to the color-coded maps to compare trends on these topics between the most recent years (2015 and 2014) and going back a decade (2005) and in some cases further back.

To access the main “Stats of the States” page, use the following link:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/stats_of_the_states.htm


Health of Hispanic Adults: United States, 2010–2014

June 17, 2016

There are 54 million Hispanic persons living in the United States, making them the largest minority group in the country. Disaggregated data on Hispanic subgroups are needed to understand the health of Hispanic persons of diverse backgrounds.

A new NCHS report presents selected estimates of health measures for all Hispanic adults aged 18 and over and for the following four Hispanic subgroups: Central or South American, Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican adults. Comparisons are also made across the subgroups and with the non-Hispanic U.S. adult population as a whole.

Findings:

  • Overall, Puerto Rican adults consistently reported poorer health status than non-Hispanic adults.
  • Puerto Rican (19.2%) and Mexican (17.4%) adults were more likely than Central or South American (12.3%) and Cuban (14.7%) adults to be in fair or poor health.
  • Puerto Rican adults (27.3%) were more likely than Central or South American adults (16.6%) to have had multiple chronic conditions.
  • Puerto Rican adults (6.2%) were nearly twice as likely to report serious psychological distress in the past 30 days compared with Central or South American adults (3.3%).
  • Puerto Rican adults (11.4%) were more likely than Central or South American (2.9%), Cuban (3.9%), and Mexican (4.8%) adults to be unable to work due to health problems.