More than a quarter of U.S. families are burdened by having to pay for medical care, and almost one in six struggle to pay health care bills, federal researchers reported on Tuesday.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act is designed to reduce the burden by getting health insurance to more Americans. But the report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that even families with health insurance can struggle to pay bills.
"In 2012, 26.8 percent of families in the United States experienced any financial burden of medical care, the NCHS team writes in its report. "Almost 1 in 6 families (16.5 percent) had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months." And nearly nine percent said they had medical bills they couldn't pay at all.
The NCHS team looked at results from a large national survey of more than 43,000 families covering 108,000 people.
Having kids often leads to large medical bills, the report finds. "One in three families with children (36 percent) experienced any financial burden of medical care, the team reported. This compares to 25 percent of families with two adults and no children.