Special Report

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

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26. Montana
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 217,396 (26.0% of adult pop. — 17th highest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $768 (17th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 8.2% (23rd highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.9% (12th lowest)

High medical costs appear to be taking a greater than average toll on public health in Montana. About 23.2% of adults in the state say they opted not to receive care for a medical problem because of costs, compared to 20.6% of adults nationwide. Indeed, Montana residents are more likely to have medical debt than Americans nationwide. An estimated 26.0% of state residents 18 and older have unpaid medical bills compared to 22.7% of adults nationwide.

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27. Nebraska
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 312,235 (21.4% of adult pop. — 21st lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $481 (10th lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 8.3% (21st highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.2% (14th lowest)

The 21.4% share of adults with unpaid medical bills in Nebraska is slightly below the 22.7% share of adults nationwide with debt from medical treatment, consultation, or testing. Those with medical debt in Nebraska are also more likely to owe less than the typical American. The median amount of medical debt that has been turned over to collections agencies in the state is $481, well below the national median of $694.

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28. Nevada
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 538,764 (23.0% of adult pop. — 24th lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $775 (16th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 11.2% (7th highest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 20.5% (8th highest)

In Nevada, 23.0% of residents 18 and older have unpaid medical bills, in line with the 22.7% share of American adults with health care debt. Still, Nevada residents are more likely to skip treatment for a medical problem due to cost than the typical American.

The share of adults in Nevada with unpaid medical bills would likely considerably decline with greater insurance coverage. Currently, 11.2% of state residents are without health insurance, well above the national uninsured rate of 8.9%.

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29. New Hampshire
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 270,225 (24.6% of adult pop. — 21st highest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $458 (6th lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 5.7% (14th lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.6% (7th lowest)

Over a quarter million adults in New Hampshire have unpaid bills from hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, or medical tests — or 24.6% of the 18 and older population. Nationwide, 22.7% of adults have unpaid medical bills.

While health insurance reduces the financial burden of health care, medical treatment can still come with high out-of-pocket costs for patients. In New Hampshire, 5.7% of the population is uninsured, a smaller share than the 8.9% of adults nationwide.

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30. New Jersey
> Adults with unpaid med. bills: 1.1 million (16.2% of adult pop. — 4th lowest)
> Median medical debt in collections: $510 (13th lowest)
> Uninsured rate: 7.4% (23rd lowest)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.5% (23rd highest)

The 16.2% share of adults with unpaid medical bills in New Jersey is well below the comparable share in most other states and the 22.7% share of adults nationwide. Higher-income areas tend to have smaller shares of residents with medical debt, and in New Jersey, the typical household earns $81,740 a year, about $20,000 more than the typical American household. New Jersey residents are also more likely than most Americans to have health insurance coverage.

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