Americans Fear Bankruptcy

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According to a new survey by West Health-Gallup U.S. Healthcare, half of Americans reported being legitimately worried about bankruptcy during the pandemic. This number is up by 5% from last year.

The survey was done in July, and it specifically asked about “medical bankruptcy” or bankruptcy related to a medical event for which Americans are not covered. Not surprisingly, reports of these fears are up. Women were more likely to be worried about this than men, as were Americans under 50. Non-white adults were far more likely to be concerned about this than whites.

Hitting the poor hardest

The poorest households were the most likely to have long-term medical debt that was unlikely to be paid off in the next year. Families with an annual income of $40,000 or less were four times more likely as those earning $100,000 or more to have this kind of debt. Over a quarter of respondents reported that they would not be able to pay a medical bill of even $500 and would have to borrow money or use a credit card if these expenses came up, a sad scenario considering a COVID diagnosis would cost far more than that for the uninsured.

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