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Last updated on Friday, March 9, 2012
(UNDATED)(HealthDay News) - One-third of Americans are in families that are having trouble paying for health care, according to a government report.
Data for the first six months of 2011 found that one in five families has difficulty paying medical bills, one in four pays bills over time and one in 10 can't pay medical bills at all, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There are families in this country that are experiencing a financial burden of medical care, and the chance of being in a family experiencing a financial burden of medical care decreases with age," said lead report author Robin Cohen, a statistician in CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
Insurance, public or private, frequently determines whether families can pay their health care expenses, Cohen noted.
"But even among people with private insurance, about 16 percent had trouble paying medical bills and 6 percent couldn't pay at all," Cohen said.
People over 65 with private health insurance are least likely to be financially burdened by medical care, while people without insurance have the highest burden, she said.
Race was another factor linked to financial burden. About 10 percent of blacks and 7 percent of Hispanics had bills they couldn't pay compared with less than 3 percent of whites.
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