updated 8/17/2006 1:02:13 AM ET 2006-08-17T05:02:13

About half of adults in middle-income families reported serious problems in paying for their health care while even those in more affluent circumstances said they had troubles with medical bills, a new survey found.

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Forty-eight percent of individuals in families earnings between $35,000 and $49,999 said they had either a somewhat serious or very serious problem paying their medical bills in the last two years, according to a study by The Commonwealth Fund. Meanwhile, 50 percent of adults in that income bracket said they had difficulties affording their health insurance.

Meanwhile, 33 percent of individual in families earning between $50,000 and $74,999 a year said they had trouble paying for medical bills while 21 percent of people in families earning $75,000 or more reported such a dilemma. Fifty percent of individuals in families earnings less than $35,000 annually reported such a problem.

Thirty-five percent of people in families with an annual income of between $50,000 to $74,999 reported they had trouble paying for health insurance while 23 percent of those in families earning $75,000 or more said the same. Forty-eight percent of those in families with incomes of less than $35,000 said they the premium cost represented a problem.

Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said he was surprised that people earning more than $50,000 were having difficulties affording health care, and that it signals that the high costs are affecting more people.

The study also found that 48 percent of those surveyed worried that wouldn’t be able to pay their medical bills in the event of a serious illness, regardless of their income.

The study also found that while people are having difficulties paying for their health services, they are also unsatisfied with them. Forty-two percent of people surveyed said they had experienced poorly coordinated, inefficient or unsafe care at some points during the past two years. Their experiences included a medical error, a duplicate test or the failure to provide important test results to doctors or nurses.

Three-quarters of the adults surveyed said the health care system needs fundamental change or a complete rebuilding.

The Commonwealth Fund is a New York-based private foundation that aims to promote better health care. The study contacted 1,023 adults by phone in early June.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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