What You Can Do About Medical Debt

Millions of Americans are awash in debt from medical care. If you’re one of them, we have your options, whether the bills are new or a collector is calling.

Photo of a masked woman sitting on the floor holding paperwork with her hand on her forehead
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ve successfully battled a serious medical condition; you’ve had surgery or spent some time in the hospital. You’re hoping to move on with your life now that you have your health back. But there’s the little matter of the bill that looms large, overwhelming your ability to pay. Or even worse, maybe you’re still sick and unable to pay your medical bills.

According to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you are not alone. Americans owe billions to medical providers. The bureau estimates that between about 18% and 35% of Americans have medical debt, with Black and Hispanic people, young adults and low-income people of all races and ethnicities more likely to carry this burden.

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Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Elaine Silvestrini has worked for Kiplinger since 2021, serving as senior retirement editor since 2022. Before that, she had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including Annuity.org and LegalExaminer.com, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.