Americans Fear Being Swamped by Medical Debt

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/ Source: CNBC.com

Most Americans worry about being swamped by medical debt — and those debt fears aren't overblown, a new report finds. One in four people say they now owe more in medical debt than they have saved in an emergency fund, according to the Bankrate.com report released Thursday. That problem is particularly acute for lower-income earners. Among people who make less than $30,000 annually, 44 percent revealed that their medical debt exceeds their emergency savings fund, Bankrate.com found.

But even in higher-earning groups, of up to $75,000 annually, about one in four people say they're in that position, according to the Health Insurance Pulse survey, the first by Bankrate to ask about people's medical debt. In contrast, just 6 percent of people who make more than $75,000 each year said their medical debt is more than what they have saved up for emergencies, according to Bankrate.com, which questioned 1,006 adults for the survey. And a majority of all respondents — 55 percent — reported that they are either "very" or "somewhat" worried about being overwhelmed by medical debt in the future.

IN-DEPTH

-- By CNBC's Dan Mangan