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Data: Medical bill struggles decline

New federal data shows that the number of people who have problems paying medical bills has fallen in recent years.

The percentage of people who struggled to pay medical bills fell from 19.7% to 14.2% between 2011 and 2018, according to a National Center for Health Statistics analysis released Wednesday.

The steepest drop in that percentage took place between 2011 and 2015, the analysis said.

For 2018, groups that had a higher percentage of people reporting difficulty in paying for health care included families with children, women and black people.

Among senior citizens, problems with paying bills were more likely among adults covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid than among people covered by private insurance or through Medicare Advantage plans.

Significant medical expenses for one person, researchers wrote in a data brief, can affect the whole family.

"People who are in families with problems paying medical bills may experience serious financial consequences, such as having problems with paying for food, clothing, or housing, and filing for bankruptcy," they wrote.

The findings were culled from the National Health Interview Survey, which has been collecting such data since 1957.

Burnout, mental health event topic

Science Cafe Little Rock will host a discussion called "Mental Health, Burnout and Life Balance" on Tuesday.

The free event is co-sponsored by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and is from 7-9 p.m. at Hibernia Irish Cafe. Three panelists will discuss mental health and burnout at work.

Experts in the discussion have sociology, behavioral-sciences and psychiatry backgrounds.

There's also a corresponding radio program on KUAR-FM at 6:05 p.m.

SundayMonday on 02/17/2020

Print Headline: Health care notebook

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