Jul 21, 2021 - Health

America's avalanche of medical debt

Illustration of $100 bills.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Americans' medical debt added up to about $140 billion last year, according to new research published Tuesday in JAMA. Americans owe debt collectors more medical debt than any other source of debt.

By the numbers: Looking at 10% of all credit reports from credit rating agency TransUnion, researchers said they found nearly one in five Americans had medical debt in collections in June 2020.

  • The mean amount of debt was $429.

The big picture: Beyond this staggering economic sum — which works out to about $60 billion more than previous estimates — the study found a wide-reaching human impact.

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