AMERICANS ARE SUFFERING FROM MEDICAL DEBT — AND FAIR FIGHT IS DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Rising Medical Bills Are Costing Our Communities Their Well-Being.
Together, We Can Change That.
Fair Fight has taken action to relieve more than $210 million of medical debt for 108,243 people.
25 million American households (almost 1 in 5) struggle to pay their medical debt in full. The size of the problem has swelled during the pandemic, overwhelming Americans and their families.
Fair Fight has eliminated the available medical debt of 108,243 people. Working with RIP Medical Debt, Fair Fight was able to abolish $212,781,814 of medical debt for these individuals, who live across five states: Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arizona.
If your pre-existing medical debt was a part of this relief effort, you should receive a letter in a yellow envelope (see below) from RIP Medical Debt by the end of November. If you have questions about the letter that you received, please reach out to RIP Medical Debt through their contact page. If you have additional questions about RIP Medical Debt, you may also visit their FAQ.
Our communities are struggling with medical debt.
Medical Debt Is Overwhelming American Families
- This is particularly true in the 12 states that have not fully expanded Medicaid, including Georgia.
- States that refuse to expand Medicaid are making the medical debt burden saddling our country worse.
Americans are collectively facing at least $141 billion in unpaid medical debt — nearly double what was estimated until earlier this year.
Medical debt is the largest source of debt in collections in America, and families with children, Americans in the South, and communities of color bear a disproportionate share of the load.
The average person with medical debt owes more than $2,400.
Medical debt’s harm goes beyond unpaid healthcare bills. It lowers credit scores, making it hard to buy or rent a home, get a loan or credit card, or otherwise maintain financial security.
Who holds medical debt?
- 27.9% of households with a Black householder
- 21.7% of households with a householder of Hispanic origin
- 17.2% of households with a White non-Hispanic householder
- 9.7% of households with an Asian householder
Medical Debt Is Shuttering Rural Hospitals
Medical debt is also one of the main reasons hospitals, particularly those in rural areas, close. When Americans can’t pay for medical care, hospitals have to shut their doors. 181 rural hospitals closed in the USA between 2005-2016 alone. The burden on and risk to rural hospitals only continues to grow as the costs of medical care goes up and our medical debt crisis worsens.
65 percent of these rural hospital closures are in the 12 states that have refused to fully expand Medicaid.
When rural hospitals close, medical costs increase and quality of care decreases. Sick and injured patients must endure lengthy ambulance rides, and may die before they can get care. ICUs overflow with COVID patients, crowding into fewer and fewer available facilities. Americans in rural areas get stuck with even larger medical bills as they are shuttled between distant emergency rooms.
Georgia refuses to expand Medicaid:
- Leaving almost 500,000 without access to affordable health care
- 21 hospitals have closed in GA since 2000
- 3 of them since the pandemic
- including 2 rural
Medicaid Expansion will reduce the medical debt burden on our communities and help keep our rural hospitals open.
Three of the states where Fair Fight has taken action to pay off medical debt (Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama) have not expanded Medicaid.
This leaves people who should have access to affordable, quality health insurance without any assistance in paying for their medical care. Unsurprisingly, health insurance is a huge factor in whether or not families can pay their medical bills. Uninsured families carry a median medical debt 50% higher than those with insurance.
Medical debt negatively affects people from all walks of life, but it impacts those without insurance coverage more than those who have access to insurance coverage. 12 states, including Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, have not fully expanded Medicaid.
- Medical debt accrual has declined by 34% since 2014 in states that have expanded Medicaid.
- Rural hospitals are closing at a rate 4.5x higher in states that continue to refuse Medicaid expansion compared to states that have already expanded it.
- 3 in 10 uninsured adults go without needed medical care because of what they believe it will cost. The uninsured are less likely to receive preventative care for chronic or major health concerns.
Fully eliminating our country’s medical debt crisis will require policy changes that provide affordable, quality access to medical insurance and medical care to everyone. Until then, Fair Fight, along with RIP Medical Debt, will continue to lead the call to help restore the wellbeing of our communities ravaged by medical debt.
- 1-in-5 American households have unpaid medical debt.
- Medical debt is a $140 billion burden for Americans.
- Unpaid medical bills are the largest source of debt owed to collection agencies.
- Parents with children are 1.5x more likely than families without children to have medical debt.
- Over 40% of Americans have skipped a medical test or treatment because of the cost.
- Southerners’ medical debt burden is 30% higher than Northerners.
- 181 rural hospitals closed in the USA between 2005-2016 alone.
- Uninsured families carry a median medical debt 50% higher than those with insurance.
- To learn more about what RIP Medical Debt, a 501(c)(3) organization, does in its private, secure efforts to pay off medical debt, check out their website.