Health Care Debt In The U.S.: The Broad Consequences Of Medical And Dental Bills

The KFF Health Care Debt Survey is part of a broader investigative project on health care debt conducted by our colleagues at KHN in partnership with NPR. The survey was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF in collaboration with KHN journalists and editors. This Report contains findings from the survey as well as the topline and methodology. The KFF Health Care Debt Survey provides a broad measure of health care debt, including medical and dental bills people are unable to pay as well as different forms of debt accruing from health care bills such as payment plans, credit cards, bank loans, and borrowing from family and friends. It also explores the effects of health care debt on individuals and the financial and personal sacrifices they make due to their debt.

Diagnosis: Debt is a multimedia investigative journalism series by KHN and NPR that explores the scale, impact, and causes of health care debt in America. It represents a fusion of the investigative power of KHN and NPR, the public opinion survey expertise of the KFF polling team, and original data analysis.

Explore the project’s journalism:

Diagnosis Debt:100 Million People in America Are Saddled With Health Care Debt, published June 16, 2022.

Upended: How Medical Debt Changed Their Lives, published June 16, 2022.

NPR Morning Edition: Sick and struggling to pay, 100 million people in the U.S. live with medical debt, aired June 16, 2022.

Medical Bills Can Shatter Lives. North Carolina May Act to ‘De-Weaponize’ That Debt, published June 21, 2022.

In America, Cancer Patients Endure Debt on Top of Disease, published July 9, 2022.

Nursing Homes Are Suing the Friends and Family of Residents to Collect Debts, published July 28, 2022.

Few Places Have More Medical Debt Than Dallas-Fort Worth, but Hospitals There Are Thriving, published Sept. 28, 2022.

Main Findings

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