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U.S. Adults with Diabetes Struggle to Pay Medical Bills, Study Finds

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Many working-age U.S. adults with diabetes struggle to pay their medical bills, according to a study that suggests health insurance offers inadequate protection from financial hardship (Reuters). Among adults under age 65 with diabetes, 60% of those without insurance struggled to pay for care, as did 40% of people with coverage. Overall, 41% of diabetics had families facing financial hardship due to healthcare costs, and 16% were unable to pay medical bills at all.

To assess the financial toll of diabetes, researchers at Yale New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation examined survey data from 165,000 working-age adults, including nearly 9,000 with diabetes, who represented about 13.1 million people with the disease nationwide.

The study found people were more likely to struggle with medical bills related to diabetes when they were poor, uninsured, black, or dealing with multiple chronic diseases. Compared to people without diabetes, adults with the disease were 27% more likely to have trouble affording food, 30% more likely to skip or delay checkups due to costs, and 43% more likely to skip or delay medication refills.

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