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Having insurance doesn't always prevent medical debt

While the number of Americans without health insurance coverage dropped drastically since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, many people in North Carolina still find themselves faced with mounting medical debt even with insurance. According to the New York Times, there has been a large shift in recent years in the types of plans offered by insurers. While more preventative services are covered, provider networks are shrinking and plans with high out-of-pocket deductibles are on the rise. This can result in annual costs in the thousands of dollars, which spells trouble for many households with little or no savings.

A recent study uncovered the fact that approximately one quarter of people younger than 65 had issues with affording their medical bills despite the fact that they are insured. Comparatively, 53 percent of people polled who did not have any insurance indicated likewise. The rates of medical debt for Americans over 65 are generally lower since Medicare covers many of their costs.

Of the people surveyed who reported struggling with medical bills, the majority had insurance either through their job, through a public program or through a plan they purchased independently. 34 percent of people reported having no insurance at all.

Both insured and uninsured people reported having to dely or forego medical treatments because of the cost, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 41 percent of people reported that they did not have a prescription filled because they could not afford it and 62 percent put off going to the dentist. In addition, 43 percent of people admitted to skipping treatments or tests recommended by their doctor because such procedures were cost prohibitive.

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