Meet the Medically Bankrupt

Monday, June 15th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

A study conducted before the economic downturn found that medical problems contributed to nearly two-thirds (62.1 percent) of all bankruptcies in 2007. At the outset, most of the “medically bankrupt” had health insurance, were solidly middle class, owned homes and had gone to college. In many cases, illness led to job loss, and with it the loss of health insurance. The study will be published in August’s American Journal of Medicine.

There’s more. A new HHS report on healthcare disparities (a featured story in today’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update) finds that 40 percent of low-income Americans do not have health insurance, about one-third of the uninsured have a chronic disease, and they are six times less likely to receive care for a health problem than the insured.

According to preliminary results of our May e-survey on the impact of the uninsured and underinsured, nearly three-fifths (58.5 percent) of 125 responding healthcare organizations are taking steps both to mitigate the financial impact of these trends and to make healthcare more affordable for these populations. To get a free e-summary of the survey results, including respondents’ top strategies for reducing cost and improving affordability and access, email me at I’ll make sure you get your
copy when it is ready.

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