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Medical debt burdens many families

By Chelsea Conaboy
Globe Staff / March 12, 2012
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In the first half of 2011, one of every three people in the United States was in a family struggling to pay for medical care, according to early estimates from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. Situations included an inability to pay bills at all or having to pay them over time using credit cards, loans, or hospital finance plans. A 2010 study by the Center for Health System Change found that one in five people said their families had trouble paying medical bills that year. In the more recent report, children and adolescents were most affected, as were the “near poor’’ - those whose family income was one to two times the federal poverty level, about $22,350 for a family of four.

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