Medical Bankruptcy

  • Skinner, Brett and Mark Rovere. Health Insurance and Bankruptcy Rates in Canada and the United States. Fraser Institute. July 2009. [Full Text (pdf)]  Key findings:
    • The most recent data (2006 and 2007) shows that personal bankruptcy rates are actually higher in Canada (.30% for both years) than in the United States (.20% and .27%).
    • Medical spending was only one of several contributing factors in 17 percent of US bankruptcies; medical debts accounted for only 12 to 13 percent of the total debts among American bankruptcy filers who cited medical debt as one of their reasons for bankruptcy.
    • Medical reasons were cited as the primary cause of bankruptcy by approximately 15 percent of bankrupt Canadian seniors (55 years of age and older).
  • Dranove, David, and Michael L. Millenson.
    Medical Bankruptcy: Myth versus Fact. Health Affairs Web
    Exclusive
    , 25(February 28, 2006): w74-w83. [Abstract]
  • Himmelstein, David U., Deborah Thorne, Elizabeth Warren, and Steffie Woolhandler. Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study. American Journal of
    Medicine
    (2009) [Full Text (pdf)]
  • Himmelstein, David U., Elizabeth Warren, Deborah Thorne, and Steffie Woolhandler. Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy. Health Affairs Web Exclusive (2005). [Full Text (pdf)]
  • Federal Reserve Bank. An Overview of Consumer Data and Credit Reporting. Table 10 shows less than 20 percent of court judgments and lawsuits related to debts entail medical creditors (imperfectly measured). Table 11 shows that 52 percent of collections by collection agencies entail medical debt. The mean amount originally owed on medical bills was $386; the median amount was $142. [Full Text (pdf)]
  • Konrad, Walecia. Protecting Your Credit Score From the Medical Bill Maze. New York Times (2010).
  • Mathur, Aparna and Tom Miller. Clarifying the Research on Medical Bankruptcy (2011). This annotated response to Rep. Kildee critiques the Himmelstein et al. studies of medical bankruptcy and documents their limitations.
  • Warren, Elizabeth. Medical Bankruptcy: Middle Class Families at Risk. Testimony before House Judiciary Committee (2007). This extensively annotated testimony cites a number of studies of medical bankruptcy.
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