WEDNESDAY, Feb. 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From 2011 to 2018, there was a decrease in the percentage of families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months, according to a February data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Amy E. Cha, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, used data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine the percentage of persons in families having problems paying medical bills.

The researchers found that from 2011 to 2018, there was a decrease in the percentage of persons who were in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months, from 19.7 to 14.2 percent overall. The percentage of persons who were in families having problems paying medical bills in 2018 was higher among women, children, and non-Hispanic blacks (14.7, 16.2, and 20.6 percent, respectively) versus men, adults, and other racial and ethnic groups.

Among individuals aged younger than 65 years, problems paying medical bills were more likely for those who were uninsured versus those with Medicaid or private coverage. Among those aged 65 years and older, the likelihood of having problems paying medical bills was increased for those with Medicare and Medicaid and Medicaid only versus those with Medicare Advantage or private coverage.

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