A survey conducted in 2009 regarding the largest contributing factor among bankruptcy filings found that 62% of cases filed were rooted in medical debt problems. With the push to reform the healthcare system to provide better coverage to everyone, the Affordable Care Act sought to bring changes in 2010. Since then, the question remains: Has the Affordable Care Act helped lower medical debt?
Six Years Later
With much criticism regarding the implementation of the ACA many are interested to know just how successful this law has been. To date, the answers are mixed at best. In a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it is estimated that only 1 in 5 persons are struggling to pay medical bills in 2016. A one in five estimate is lower than prior to the passing of the ACA in 2010. Further, the same study showed a decrease in the amount of medical bills that are reported as delinquent and sent to collection agencies since the expansion of Medicaid during that time as well.
A look at the other side of the associated costs coin is premiums. The average person reports an increase in their premium, largely due to the increase in coverage mandates in their policy. Bankruptcy rates have since stayed the same, providing some inconclusive answers the question of whether the passing of ACA has improved financial situations for families or more-or-less stayed the same.
It appears as though it may be too early to tell what the long term effects the Affordable Care Act will have on financial standings among the average earning family. What we do know is that more people access to healthcare and treatment, which is likely to have some positive effect the down road. In the meantime, those who are struggling to pay their medical bills or are drowning in a pile of collection notices should contact a bankruptcy attorney in Cincinnati for help.