Medical bills have long been a source of conflict. In this constant struggle, some people are fortunate enough to have the majority of their bills covered by health insurance, while others are stuck with high bills that go beyond their regular insurance coverage. Naturally, these unpaid bills result in significant debt for families.
Since 2005, there has been a steady rise in the number of people who face trouble paying medical bills. Starting in 2005, 58 million people, 34 percent, experienced issues. This percentage has continued to climb, peaking at 41 percent in 2012. However with Obamacare, a heartening trend has surfaced – people are finding it easier to pay medical bills.
In nearly a decade, this is the decline, and that does beg that question that affordable care is being delivered courtesy of Obamacare. Last year, only 35 percent of the US population (64 million people) said they were experiencing medical debt. However in 2012, 41 percent (75 million people) were facing the medical debt.
The Affordable Care Act has been able to lower the percentage of uninsured Americans from 20 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2014. Converting to numbers, that’s going from 37 million uninsured to 29 million. After this year’s open enrollment period, the number is expected to be lower.
With medical bills becoming easier to handle, a direct correlation can be made to the number of people who have been stalling medical care due to costs and, apparent, unavoidable debt. As a consequence of this increased affordability, the survey reveals that there is a rise in the hospital visits of people who had been putting off medical care just because they were not able to afford healthcare earlier.
As per the numbers shared through the Commonwealth Fund survey, 80 million people did not visit a doctor or a clinic for a medical problem in 2012 in order to circumvent the cost connected to the treatment. This number also included the people who skipped prescription drugs, follow up treatments, specialty care, etc. By 2014, this number had fallen to 66 million. That’s a solid drop of 7 percentage points, right from 43 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2014. Through affordable care extended by Obamacare, these families are finally accessing better medical attention without the worry of piling medical debt.
For the first time, fewer people have delayed medical care in light of unaffordability, and Obamacare has played a huge role in this improvement. So while there are valid arguments on revisions to the law, there are some positive lights – and this is one of them.