Special Report

How Many People in Your State Are Burdened With Medical Debt?

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11. Hawaii
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 150,289 (13.4% of adult pop. — the lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $232 (the lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 4.1% (4th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.0% (13th lowest)

Only 13.4% of adults in Hawaii have medical debt, the smallest share of any state in the country. The lower likelihood of medical debt in Hawaii is partially the product of low uninsured rates and high incomes. Just 4.1% of Hawaiians lack health insurance, less than half the 8.9% national uninsured rate. Additionally, the typical household in Hawaii earns $80,212 a year, about $18,300 more than what the typical American household earns. Hawaii also has the lowest median total turned over to collectors of any state, of just $232.

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12. Idaho
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 313,132 (23.9% of adult pop. — 24th highest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $790 (13th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 11.1% (8th highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.3% (21st lowest)

In Idaho, 23.9% of 18 and older adults have unpaid medical bills, slightly larger than the 22.7% national share. Americans without health insurance typically pay far more out of pocket for medical treatment than those with insurance, and in Idaho, 11.1% of the population is without insurance, well above the 8.9% uninsured rate.

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13. Illinois
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 2.0 million (19.8% of adult pop. — 13th lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $555 (18th lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 7.0% (19th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.2% (21st highest)

A slightly lower than average share of adults in Illinois have unpaid medical bills at 19.8%. Those who do have outstanding medical debt are also more likely to have less of it than average. The median amount of medical debt that has been turned over to a collections agency in the state is just $555, well below the national average of $694.

The greater likelihood of Illinois residence being able to pay off their medical bills is likely partially due to higher incomes. The typical household in the state earns $65,030 a year, over $3,000 more than than the typical American household.

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14. Indiana
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 1.4 million (26.8% of adult pop. — 13th highest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $761 (18th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 8.3% (21st highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.7% (17th highest)

High medical costs appear to be taking a greater than average toll on the health of Indiana residents. More than one in every four adults in the state say they have opted not to receive care for a medical problem because of costs, compared to about one in every five adults nationwide. Indeed, Indiana residents are more likely to have medical debt than most Americans. An estimated 26.8% of state residents 18 and older have unpaid medical bills compared to 22.7% of adults nationwide.

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15. Iowa
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 532,660 (22.0% of adult pop. — 22nd lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $535 (16th lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 4.7% (6th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.1% (5th lowest)

The 22.0% share of Iowans 18 and older with unpaid medical bills is closely in line with the comparable national figure. The amount of debt most Iowans are carrying is lower than average, however, as the median medical debt in the hands of collection agencies in the state is just $535 compared to an average of $694 nationwide.

Though Iowans are nearly twice as likely as the typical American to have health insurance, medical treatment can still have high out of pocket expenses, and a higher than average 22.7% share of adults in the state have not sought treatment for a medical problem due to costs.