Financial Burden of Health Care, 2001-2004

Source: Health Affairs (Commonwealth Fund)

Rising health care costs, combined with slowed economic growth, have created greater financial burdens for U.S. families in recent years–and raised the likelihood that they will face problems paying bills, accumulate medical debt, and even forgo needed medical care. In a Commonwealth Fund-supported study examining families’ financial burdens and out-of-pocket spending between 2001 and 2004, researchers found that by 2004, more than 45 million Americans lived in families with high financial burdens–spending more than 10 percent of their after-tax income on health care. That represents an increase of nearly 6 million people over 2001.

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