How Big Of A Problem Is Medical Debt In Arizona?0
Healthcare debt collection is a serious problem throughout the country, and Arizona residents are not exempt from the financial hardships brought about by medical debt. In fact, a study by University of Arizona researchers found that residents of the Grand Canyon State owed more than $2.4 billion in medical bills in 2008. What’s more, one in four surveyed adults were either paying healthcare-related debts or had had problems paying a medical bill in the last year.
Who is most affected by medical debt?
Although medical debt seems to affect Arizona residents in different age groups and economic classes, middle-aged Arizonans with low to moderate incomes have the highest rate of debt. Following is a breakdown by age group of adults who were paying off medical bills at the time of the survey:
• Ages 18-29: 26 percent
• Ages 30-39: 34 percent
• Ages 40-49: 32 percent
• Ages 50-64: 24 percent
Families with children are also greatly affected, especially those headed by couples or single females. In fact, these households are 60 percent more likely to have medical debt than those headed by a single male or those without children.
How does Arizona compare to the rest of the country?
Arizonans are, on the whole, better off when it comes to medical debt than the average American. A national survey of healthcare debt collection found that 65 percent of Americans with medical bills had problems paying for other necessities. In Arizona, however, only 39 percent of adults with medical debt reported being unable to pay for basic necessities.
What can healthcare organizations do to collect on unpaid debts?
Partnering with a medical collection agency whose employees are well-trained in collecting from patients is one way that healthcare professionals can increase collections. For example, instead of overwhelming patients by demanding full payment, medical collection agencies often work with patients to set up manageable payment plans. This not only brings in money for the healthcare facility, but it helps patients pay down their debts.