Americans’ Medical Debts Are Bigger Than Was Known, Totaling $140 Billion

The New York Times (NYT) (07/20/2021)
  • Americans owe collections agencies $140B in unpaid medical debt, almost 2x more than previously estimated.
  • From 2009-2020, unpaid medical bills became collections agencies’ largest source of debt.
  • The $140B excludes debts owed directly to hospitals, long-term payment plans and medical bills paid via credit cards.
  • The medical debts are highly concentrated in Southern states that declined participation in Obama’s Medicaid expansion.
  • Unlike debts pertaining to day-to-day needs (eg utility bills, auto loans), medical bills have much lower re-payment rates.