Study: 1 in 8 Coloradans is in medical debt

Colorado News

DENVER (KDVR) –Not all of them may get billed five figures, but Colorado still has three-quarters of a million people with medical debt.

Last night FOX31 Problem Solvers introduced you to a local woman who was billed $18k for a broken wrist. Though only a portion of medical debt is that high, stories like hers feed into an estimated $140 billion of medical debt across the U.S.

According to data compiled by insurance company QuoteWizard, 12.7% of Coloradans have medical debt in collections. Based on the 2020 census population, that’s 733,261 people.

With its relatively high rate of insured people, the percentage of Colorado’s population with medical debt ranks 30th among U.S. states.

The Journal of American Medical Associations reported in early summer that rates of people with medical debt are highest in the South. Researchers drew a connection between high percentages of medical debt and state refusals to expand Medicaid.

The five states with the highest percentages are West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

The amount Colorado owes on its medical debt is also less than the national average.

The median amount of medical debt among those who owe money in Colorado is $748, ranking 26th-highest overall. States with extremely high healthcare costs such as Wyoming and Alaska have nearly twice the median amount owed.

FOX31’s Lori Jane Gliha put together a list of resources for people who have medical debt.

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