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Study Finds Those Having Health Insurance Still Suffer Health Care Related Financial Burdens

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NPR writes of a study recently published in JAMA that found having health insurance does not necessarily spare you when it comes to worries about high health care costs.

Researchers found around 11 million Americans experienced “catastrophic medical expenses” in 2017, the last year the study covered — and privately insured people represented more than half of those. “Catastrophic expenditures” is a term coined by the World Health Organization that refers to health care spending of more than 40% of a person’s income after food and housing costs.

During the study period from 2010 to 2017, 6 million people between 20 and 64 years old with private insurance suffered such financial burdens, and their share of the total who reported them went up from 46% to nearly 54%. The study found an overall decrease in catastrophic expenses by 2017 — in particular people on Medicaid saw a decrease — but not among the privately insured. Despite gains in health insurance, many Americans may still be vulnerable to unmanageable bills, including high premiums and high out-of-pocket costs.

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