Medical debt in the U.S. is greater than previously thought

When a person in New Jersey is seriously ill, as many have been in the past year, they may want to focus on simply regaining their health. Unfortunately, part of regaining their health may be attending many doctor’s appointments, undergoing testing or perhaps even spending time in the hospital. All these treatments come at a price, however, in the form of medical expenses. Unfortunately, in these tough financial times, many in New Jersey may not have the means of paying back this debt.

How big is the medical debt problem?

The medical debt problem in the U.S. is greater than previously thought. Earlier studies found that Americans owed $81 billion in medical debt. However, newer studies placed that number at $140 billion in past due medical debt in 2020 that had been sold to collection agencies. One paper found that approximately 18% of Americans had medical debt in collections.

Medicaid and medical debts

Previous research showed how Medicaid coverage can lower the amount of medical debt in the U.S. In states that expanded Medicaid coverage, low-income individuals may be able to obtain coverage without having to pay premiums and with little cost sharing. In generally, those with Medicaid coverage may not be burdened by the types of medical bills that lead to outstanding debt. As of 2020, Americans who resided in states that did not expand Medicaid coverage had on average $375 or more in medical debt in comparison to those who resided in states that did expand Medicaid coverage.

Learn more about medical debt and bankruptcy

If you are facing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical debt that you simply have no means of paying back, you may be interested in filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can be a good way to have many of your debts, including medical debts in some cases, extinguished allowing you to move forward on fresh financial footing. Our firm’s bankruptcy webpage may be of interest to those who want to learn more about this topic.


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