Family Finances

Medical Debt and its Impacts on Health and Wealth: What Can Philanthropy Do to Help?

March 29, 2021  • Sarika Abbi, Raquan Wedderburn, Financial Security Program & Asset Funders Network

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Seventy-nine million Americans struggle to pay their medical bills or are paying off medical debt.  With the healthcare system structured to place a significant burden of the cost of care on households, medical debt is the most common type of debt in collections and the most common debt to lead to bankruptcy. Medical debt also disproportionately impacts communities of color, perpetuating and exacerbating the racial wealth gap by draining cash flow that other households without medical debt can save or invest. The good news – philanthropy has an opportunity to find and invest in solutions to support the millions of households struggling at all phases of the medical debt lifecycle. Each opportunity is accompanied by real examples that have been proposed or enacted and recommendations for philanthropy to support change and solutions at scale.

This is the third installment of Asset Funders Network’s three-part series on consumer debt.

Click here to access the webinar and related slide deck.