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Most Americans worried about potential medical debt burdens

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Twenty five percent of Americans say they currently have more medical debt than emergency savings, according to a new report. released this finding in Health Insurance Pulse, a monthly survey that tracks how Americans are feeling about health care and their personal finances. Princeton Data Source, a sister company of Princeton Research Associates International, conducted the telephone survey of 1,006 U.S. adults.

The proportion of Americans whose medical debt exceeds emergency savings, the research shows, increases as income declines. Among those earning less than $30,000 per year, 44 percent have more medical debt.

People who do not have medical debt are concerned about it, the report adds. Over half of Americans (55 percent) are worried they will find themselves overwhelmed by medical debt (27 percent are very worried and 28 percent are somewhat worried). 

“These results show that more than half the population feels financially insecure when it comes to health care. This is an issue that affects consumer confidence and the broader economy,” says Insurance Analyst Doug Whiteman.

Adding to the negative sentiment, most Americans (55 percent) are worried that they will not have affordable health insurance in the future (versus 43 percent who were either not too worried or not worried at all). “This might suggest that many people are either uninformed about the exchanges or lacking confidence in the Affordable Care Act,” says Whiteman.

The report finds that worry levels are the highest among people in their prime earning years, between the ages of 30 and 64.

Read the full report here.