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CR Poll: Medical bills are the top consumer woe

Consumer Reports News: March 22, 2011 08:47 AM

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, a Consumer Reports poll suggests that the inability to pay medical bills and buy prescription medications are still the most persistent financial woes facing consumers.

For the quarter ending in March 2011, 14.7 percent of people in the survey said they were unable to pay their medical bills or buy prescription drugs, versus 13.9 percent a year earlier. And 7.9 percent said they experienced either lost or reduced health-care coverage, up slightly from 7.3 percent the prior year.

The recent findings come from our ongoing Trouble Tracker poll, which monitors a wide range of consumer difficulties including not only high medical bills but also lost jobs, missed mortgage payments or other major bills, credit card rate increases or penalties, denied personal loans, and home foreclosures. Since the poll began in April 2009, the inability to pay medical bills or medications has affected more Americans than any other financial challenge.

--Joel Keehn, senior editor

Check out Consumer Union's new guide, The Affordable Care Act: The First Year, to see what the law means for you and your family.

Joel Keehn

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