Coverage When It Counts

What does it mean to be adequately insured? A growing body of research documents both health-related and financial problems that can arise when health insurance doesn’t cover enough. Rates of medical debt are growing, chiefly among the insured. One in five privately insured Americans with chronic conditions live in families with medical bill problems—an increase from 16 percent in 2003. When out-of-pocket spending for medical care exceeds just 2.5 percent of income—less for low-income persons—financial burdens on families become substantial. Studies show that the underinsured and uninsured face similar problems accessing medical care and managing financial burdens.