Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The number of people struggling to pay medical bills has fallen by 5.5 percentage points since 2011, but more than 14% of Americans still had problems in 2018, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: "Families with problems paying medical bills may experience serious financial consequences, such as having problems with paying for food, clothing, or housing, and filing for bankruptcy," the report's authors write.

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Data: NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, 2011–2018; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Some groups of people are more likely to struggle to pay their bills than others.

  • Women, children and black Americans were more likely to struggle than males, adults and other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Among people under 65, the uninsured unsurprisingly were more likely to report problems paying medical bills than those with Medicaid or private insurance.
  • And among people over 65, people jointly enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid and those enrolled in traditional fee-for-service Medicare were more likely to struggle than those with Medicare Advantage or private coverage.

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