An Urban Institute study funded by the New York Health Foundation shows that almost half of New Yorkers have a $500 or more medical debt. The medical debt of the New Yorkers was highest in four upstate regions: the Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and the North Country.
The study shows that the medical debt of New Yorkers in collections is also much higher in poor, rural, upstate communities
One example: Of the medical debt owed by New Yorkers of Chemung County in the Southern Tier, 27% is in collections. Other counties with the highest debt include Steuben, 14%; and Jefferson and St. Lawrence, both 14%.
The president and CEO of the New York Health Foundation said that medical debt has been called a unique of New Yorkers injustice. Indeed, medical debt is the number one reason New Yorkers declare personal bankruptcy.
“I don’t know anybody across the political spectrum, no matter what their politics might be, who thinks getting sick, needing health care, should also ruin you and your family, financially,” Sandman told New Yorkers Capital Tonight.
The Urban Institute study cited above shows that most medical debt of New Yorkers exceeds $500
To protect New Yorkers in medical debt from bankruptcy, Lawmakers passed the “No Surprises Act” this past spring. The new law prevents surprise medical bills to New Yorkers, and the national credit reporting companies are required to remove all paid medical debts from the credit reports of New Yorkers, as well as all medical collections under $500.
The bill called The Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act will prohibit medical service providers from reporting the medical debt of New Yorkers directly or indirectly to a consumer reporting agency. The New Yorkers await the signature of Gov. Kathy Hochul.
If the New York Governor signed the bill, New York would be the second state after Colorado to extend protections against medical debt, regardless of the debt amount. New Yorkers are waiting for this to happen.