Nearly half of respondents ages 50-64 with mounting medical expenses report taking on credit card debt to pay bills.
Relentless annual increases in health insurance premiums and deductibles are outpacing wage growth for many working older Americans with employer-sponsored health plans, a new Commonwealth Fund study shows.
The study finds that more than half (54%) of low-income adults and nearly one-third of adults with moderate incomes are underinsured, and face higher out-of-pocket costs which nearly half of respondents say led them to skip or delay care.
Among the findings:
- Nearly half (47%) of low-income older adults, and more than one-third (35%) of those with moderate income, said it was very or somewhat difficult to afford their premiums.
- 54% of those with low income and nearly one-third with moderate income were underinsured, meaning that they had high out-of-pocket costs and/or deductibles relative to their income.
- Nearly half of those with low income reported skipping or delaying needed care because of cost.
- Difficulties paying medical bills and paying off medical debt loads affected 44% of older adults with low income and two of five of those with moderate income.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those struggling with medical bills and debt were not confident they have enough money to retire — more than double the rate for older adults without problems paying their medical bills.
- Nearly half (46%) of respondents with medical bill problems reported taking on credit card debt to pay off their bills, one-third received a lower credit rating because of their bills, and more than a quarter exhausted their savings to pay their bills.
The data was taken from the Commonwealth Fund’s 2022 Biennial Health Insurance Survey of more than 8,000 adults ages 19 or older and conducted by the research firm SSRS.
The analysis focused on 1,978 respondents ages 50-64 with low and moderate incomes. Low income is defined as less that 200% of the federal poverty level or $27,180 for an individual and $55,500 for a family of four in 2022. Moderate income is between 200% and 400% of poverty, or $54,360 for an individual and $111,000 for a family of four.
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Nearly half of those with low income reported skipping or delaying needed care because of cost.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those struggling with medical bills and debt were not confident they have enough money to retire.