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Health educator, Ammy Erickson, on covering out-of-pocket costs and additional medical financing


Ammy Erickson, a Health and Wellness Coordinator at Columbia University, states that, unfortunately, we may soon see out-of-pocket expenditures on medical care will almost double.

Out-of-pocket spending includes all amounts paid by the privately insured and any other insured individuals for all the medical services that are not covered by insurance policies. It also includes any amounts paid by the uninsured individuals for health care goods. Among all residents, out-of-pocket spending accounted for $491,6 billion (9.9% of total HCE) in 2021. It is about $1,650 per person. “And we have every reason to believe that out of pocket expenditures will increase to $800 billion by 2026,” - Ammy Erickson says.

At the same time, private health insurance expenditures totaled $1,151 billion (29.3% of overall HCE). While the population's out-of-pocket spending on health care is more than two times lower than the expenses covered by private health insurance, it's still a large amount that can be difficult to cover for low-income individuals or families.

“Many families are now applying for financial assistance in order to get emergency help in covering the medical debt. It should not be so because health is a right of every human, and that is why we all should fight for equal medical opportunities and accessible health care.” - Ammy says. At the same time, we see that at least 8.6% of the population does not have health insurance, and about 9% of individuals owe medical debt.

“Just think about it. There are approximately 3 million people in our country whose medical debt exceeds $10,000.” Ammy Erickson wonders. “Imagine how desperate low-income individuals can be when they cannot get medical care in an emergency because of its high cost. Despite the fact that now the sector for providing additional financial support comes up with more and more new programs aimed at supporting vulnerable groups of the population, our government should think about how to make medical care more accessible.”

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