Medical Debt in America
Nearly 20% of Americans have some form of medical debt. Medical debt amounts to some of the greatest debt Americans hold. In total, Americans have about $141 billion in medical debt. Overcoming this crisis will not be easy, but we believe it can be done.
Key Facts About Medical Debt
17.8% of Americans have medical debt
Nearly 25 million American households (19%) battle to pay their medical debt off in full
The Average medical debt for Americans in 2020 was $2,024
Southern States have higher medical debt, both in terms of dollar amount and in the number of people who have unpaid medical debt.
Black households have higher rates of medical debt (27.9%) compared to White households (17.2%) and Asian households (9.7%) (US Census)
Households with children under age 18 are more likely than those without children to carry medical debt (US Census)
What Can Be Done
Even though these statistics are overpowering, the news is not all bad. States which have expanded Medicaid have seen their residents' medical debt decline by 44% since 2014, a 4.5x decrease compared to states that did not expand Medicaid. Households with full health insurance coverage have a median medical debt of $2,000, 50% less than households without full insurance coverage.
The data shows how expanding medical insurance coverage in the USA can help reduce medical debt for Americans and help create a better economy.
While reducing the nation’s overall medical debt will require expansive policy changes that provide medical insurance to everyone, there are organizations that are taking the lead in helping reduce medical debt across the USA.
Medical Debt by State
RIP Medical Debt, an organization that pays off medical debt to give people a fresh start, has purchased over 5.3 billion dollars worth of American Medical debt since 2014.
RIP Medical Debt just received its third-largest donation ever from Stacey Abrams' organization, Fair Fight, which bought up $212 million in medical debt across the South to relieve the medical debt of some 108,000 families. Fair Fight's donation will pay off medical debt for residents of Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.