Of those surveyed, just 39 percent of respondents said they’d be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 bill with funds from their savings. Most of the other respondents said they would have no choice but to accrue debt ― by paying with a credit card, borrowing from family and friends, or getting a loan.
Medical bills are particularly foreboding. In 2016, medical expenses were the largest contributor to increasing the number of individuals living in poverty, according to a Census Bureau report. That year, 10.5 million people fell below the poverty line due to medical bills.
“Medical expenses have long been a common path into financial ruin for Americans,” Ann Huff Stevens, deputy director of the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis, told HuffPost. “Without health insurance, it is very easy to get into levels of debt that are impossible to recover from.”
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