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Serious illness often means financial disaster for Americans, study finds

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4464 (Published 23 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4464
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

More than half of Americans who become seriously ill face financial ruin despite most having health insurance. About 1.6 million people have declared bankruptcy in recent years, says a national survey by the Commonwealth Fund, the New York Times, and Harvard University’s T H Chan School of Public Health.12

“Americans spend more than citizens of any other country with the hope that the right care will be there for them when serious illness strikes,” the report says. But during their care they experience helplessness, confusion, problems getting treatment, and severe financial burdens.

The survey looked at the financial and emotional effects of serious illness in a nationally representative sample of 1495 adults. They either had an illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or stroke and had been …

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