Research Paper

Preventing Medical Debt From Disrupting Health and Financial Health

As the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., medical debt impacts the financial lives of millions of vulnerable Americans each year. There are a number of immediate actions for healthcare stakeholders – including hospitals and health systems, insurers, and employers – to take to prevent medical debt and its devastating impacts. By working to prevent medical debt, organizations can support consumer health and well-being while also strengthening loyalty, trust, and community reputation.

Monday, March 28, 2022
 Preventing Medical Debt From Disrupting Health and Financial Health

Data Spotlight

~1 in 6 Americans (18%)
report medical debt in collections as of June 2020.

$140+ billion
in medical debt now burdens patients and their families across the country.

#1 most common past-due bill
that consumers are contacted about by debt collectors.

Who Can Help Prevent Medical Debt?

This four-part report series focuses on the prevalence and impacts of medical debt, who is most at risk, and actionable strategies and recommendations hospitals and health systems, insurers, and employers can take to prevent it. We recommend beginning with the Issue Overview report, then exploring the brief best aligned to your industry and role. The Financial Health Network developed this series with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation* and a council of stakeholder experts.

Explore Systems-Level Overview

For Hospitals and Health Systems

For Hospitals and Health Systems

Read about actionable strategies healthcare providers should take now to improve financial assistance and repayment programs, support informed patient decision-making, and proactively identify patients at risk for medical debt to target financial assistance.

Learn More

For Insurers

For Insurers

Discover opportunities insurance providers should seize now to help members navigate plan selection, understand key terminology, reduce out-of-pocket expenses, utilize preventive care, and improve administrative processes that affect customers.

Learn More

For Employers

For Employers

Find out about proactive steps employers should take now to assess employee health insurance affordability, educate their workforce on insurance basics and out-of-pocket costs, help workers manage healthcare expenses, and offer plans based on employees’ needs and circumstances.

Learn More

Our Supporter

Support for this report series was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

About the Advisory Council

The Financial Health Network developed this report series through research and by conducting three working sessions and individual interviews with a 14-member Stakeholder Advisory Council. This Advisory Council included representatives from across the healthcare ecosystem – hospitals and health systems, clinicians, insurers, employers, healthcare consumers and advocates, health technology vendors, health policy experts, and philanthropy organizations. These conversations guided the actionable and strategic recommendations presented in this series. 

More to Explore

Preventing Medical Debt: Recommendations for Employers

This report shines a light on employer decisions around health insurance and how those decisions have helped shape the medical debt crisis, explaining specific actions employers should take now to reduce employee financial stress while improving productivity and retention.

Show More

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Written by

  • Michelle Proser
    Senior Director, Healthcare Solutions
    Financial Health Network
  • Uzma Amin
    Manager, Healthcare
    Financial Health Network

Preventing Medical Debt From Disrupting Health and Financial Health

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