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Press Release


Oct 26, 2023

New Research: Half of Working-Age Americans Struggle to Afford Health Care; Nearly One-Third Saddled with Medical Debt

Commonwealth Fund Survey Finds Regardless of Insurance Status or Type, Health Care Costs and Medical Debt Are Causing Many Americans to Forgo Care, Leading to Worsening Health

Fifty-one percent of working-age Americans struggle to afford their health care and about one of three (32%) are saddled with medical debt, according to findings from a Commonwealth Fund survey released today.

The survey reveals that half of adults with medical debt (52%) incurred it for care related to ongoing health conditions, rather than one-time or unexpected health events. Moreover, more than half (57%) of those who reported delayed or forgone care because of affordability concerns said they experienced aggravated health problems as a result. This trend was consistent across all insurance types.

The Commonwealth Fund Health Care Affordability Survey is the newest in the Fund’s ongoing research reporting on working-age adults’ ability to afford health care and the way these costs affected their lives. For the first time, these findings are broken down by public and private insurance type, insurance status, and income level.

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Publication Details


Oct 26, 2023


Bethanne Fox, Vice President, Outreach and Strategy, The Commonwealth Fund, Maya Brod

[email protected]