Contributing to evidence-based health policy decisions
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)]