Sep 2, 2020 - Health

Half of Americans fear a health-related bankruptcy

Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of Americans who worry about bankruptcy if they have a serious health issue has spiked over the last year and a half — particularly among men, people of color and young adults, according to a new survey from West Health and Gallup.

Between the lines: Health care costs were a huge issue even when the economy was good and we weren't in a global pandemic. Now, millions of people have gotten sick, lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, or all three.

Details: 15% of adults said that at least one person in their household has medical debt that they won't be able to repay within the next year, including 20% of adults of color and 12% of white adults.

  • Unsurprisingly, a much larger percentage of lower-income households say the same, compared to higher-income households.
  • A quarter of adults say that they'd have to borrow money to pay a $500 medical bill.

The bottom line: The pandemic is making all of our existing health care problems worse.

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