Medical Debt Among New Mothers

This analysis examines the share of new mothers who have significant medical debt (in excess of $250), compared to other young women who did not recently give birth, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

New mothers are twice as likely to have medical debt as young women who did not recently give birth. Among women ages 18-35, 14.3% of those who gave birth in the last year and a half have medical debt in excess of $250, compared to 7.6% of women in the same age group who did not have a child recently. This comparison group (7.6%) includes some women who have older children, so there could still be residual debt from an earlier birth.

KFF’s earlier survey of people experiencing health care debt also found that parents generally are significantly more likely than non-parents to report having health care debt from their own or someone else’s medical or dental bills.

The analysis is available through the KFF-Peterson Health System Tracker, an online information hub that monitors and assesses the performance of the U.S. health system.

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