BUSINESS

America's Health Care Crisis Is Far From Over, In 1 Chart

01/29/2014 08:03 am ET | Updated Jan 29, 2014

Even Americans who have health insurance struggle to pay their medical bills, according to a startling new analysis of Census data. And it's not clear if Obamacare will make the problem totally disappear.

One in five U.S. families with health insurance have medical bills that they cannot afford to pay in full, according to a recent brief from a division of the Department of Health and Human Services that looked at 2012 data.

As you can see from the chart below the situation is far more dire for those without insurance -- in families where no one has health insurance, nearly 40 percent have bills that they cannot afford to pay.

health insurance

On the whole, more than one in four families faced financial burdens of medical care, according to the data. (The study's wonky definition of a family: "an individual or a group of two or more related persons living together in the same housing unit.")

Thankfully, Obamacare sets limits on annual out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-payments for policies sold on the health insurance exchanges. In 2014, those limits are $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. Those limits were supposed to apply to all insurance plans, including those provided by employers, but some were exempted for one year.

The law also aims to expand health care coverage to all Americans, which could drastically cut the number of families with outstanding medical debt. But as the chart above indicates, increased access to coverage isn't enough to make health care affordable for everyone.

(Hat tip: NBC News)

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