Americans Near $1 Trillion In Total Medical Debt | Forbes

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Published on 19 Oct 2021, 13:33
Fully half of Americans now carry medical debt, up from 46% in 2020, according to new data from Debt.com, a consumer financial education company. More than half of Americans with medical debt owe at least $1,000, driven by diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits.

Though more people reported having medical debt compared to last year, less than half (46%) said their bills were in collections this year, down from 56% in 2020. Despite the decrease, a recent JAMA study showed that debt collectors hold $140 billion in medical debt, not including credit card balances and unpaid medical bills that haven’t hit consumers’ credit reports.

With those categories included, Americans may actually owe as much as $1 trillion in medical debt, according to Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that buys consumer debt from healthcare providers or aggregators for pennies on the dollar.

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