As efforts continued at the beginning of 2022 to implement the No Surprises Act aimed at preventing surprise medical bills that patients are often unable to pay, the Kaiser Family Foundation published a report that estimates nearly one in 10 adults have medical debt, and that Americans’ total medical debt could be as high as $195 billion. About a week later the nation’s top three debt collection firms announced planned changes to medical debt practices designed to reduce the strain of medical debt on patients, and appease a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that has made credit reporting and medical debt a priority. Less than a month later, the Biden Administration announced several initiatives aimed at alleviating issues related to medical debt for Americans.
Medical debt is getting attention from patients and policymakers alike, but finding effective solutions can be complicated. If not carefully designed, policies created to address medical debt can result in restricted access to care and increased rates of default.
Fortunately there are ways to alleviate medical debt without unintended consequences. Bill Snyder, Mel Jones-Cannon, and Shannon Deere of Leavitt Partners, and Debra Carey of HMA weigh in on recent efforts to alleviate medical debt and what more can be done.
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