Tags: medical | debt | bills | unpaid

Govt Report: 42.9 Million Americans Have Unpaid Medical Bills

Thursday, 11 Dec 2014 02:03 PM

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers — 42.9 million people — have unpaid medical debts, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The findings suggest that many Americans are being trapped by debt because they are confused by the notices they get from hospitals and insurance companies about the cost of treatment. As a result, millions of Americans may be surprised to find they are stuck with lower credit scores, making it harder for them to borrow to buy a home or an automobile.

"When people fall ill and end up at the hospital with unexpected bills, far too often they have entered into a financial maze," CFPB director Richard Cordray said in a speech to be delivered Thursday in Oklahoma City.

On average, a person with only overdue medical debt owes $1,766. Someone with unpaid medical bills and other sources of debt — possibly credit cards or back taxes — owes an average of $5,638. More than half of all debt on credit reports stems from medical expenses.

The report by the federal regulator indicates that much of this trouble could be avoided. About half of consumers who only carry medical debt have no other signs of being under financial distress. But complaints to the CFPB indicate that consumers are routinely baffled by medical bills. Unwieldy insurance and hospital statements leave them uncertain as to how much money they owe, the deadline for payment, and which organization should be paid.


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Nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers — 42.9 million people — have unpaid medical debts, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
medical, debt, bills, unpaid
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2014-03-11
Thursday, 11 Dec 2014 02:03 PM
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