Nearly one out of four American families, or a staggering 28 percent, are burdened financially by medical expenses per a new study.
The survey was released from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on January, 28, and revealed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey's data pool comprised 43,345 families and involved 108,131 people who represented a national sample.
The survey brings to light the shocking truth that an overwhelming number of American families are burdened by medical debt and the lack of insurance.
"In 2012, 26.8 percent of families in the United States experienced any financial burden of medical care," notes the NCHS team in its report. "Almost 1 in 6 families (16.5%) had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months, 1 in 10 families (8.9%) had medical bills that they were unable to pay at all (a subgroup of those having problems paying medical bills), and 1 in 5 families (21.4%) were paying medical bills over time."
Per the report, those with children felt the financial squeeze as a result of medical bills more. One in three families with children, or 36 percent, were affected by financial issues because of medical care. By comparison, 25 percent of families which comprised only two adults and no children felt financial burden owing to the cost of medical care.
Moreover, families that had children between 0 to 17 years had higher chances of experiencing financial burden than those without children.
"Unpaid medical bills is the number one reason why families declare personal bankruptcy," said Karen Pollitz, a fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a telephone interview to Bloomberg. "It causes people to lose equity in their homes, to endanger their retirement and their kid's college education. It will destroy a family financially."
According to the survey, families that have both insured and non-insured members are the worst affected - 46 percent - and have a tough time paying off medical bills. In comparison, 39.7 percent of those who experienced financial pressure were families in which all members were uninsured.
Additionally, the survey also revealed that families that had an income which was at or 250 percent below the federal poverty level (FPL) were more likely to be affected than families with incomes above 250 percent of the FPL.