These fears are not unfounded. Of those with private health insurance, 68% received unexpected medical bills and 33% were unable to pay them on time, while 23% said they had not yet paid them.
Many Americans (81%) want Congress to pass laws to end surprise medical bills, and three-quarters (including 82% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans) said they would vote for those who supported such legislation.
Surprise medical bills
“Surprise medical bills are a major factor in anxiety and financial disruption for families across the country who are already suffering under the weight of an ongoing pandemic,” said Dr. Mitchell Elkind, president of the American Heart Association ( AHA).
“For over a year, Congress has been considering bipartisan legislation to ensure patients aren’t stuck with financially devastating bills after seeking care. It is high time lawmakers stop surprise medical bills,” said Elkind, also a professor. of Neurology and Epidemiology at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, New York.
A surprise medical bill can appear after receiving treatment not covered by insurance. The coronavirus pandemic has heightened fears that these bills could wipe out people.
“A patient-facing a medical emergency, such as cardiac arrest or stroke, should focus only on their immediate medical needs – not on being able to afford care not covered by insurance,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, said in a press release from the association. “Americans want Congress to end surprise medical bills, and they need lawmakers to act now.”
The Harris Poll conducted an online survey of just over 2,000 adults from October 12-14, 2020.
To learn more about surprise medical bills, visit the Kaiser Family Foundation.
SOURCE: American Heart Association, press release, November 30, 2020