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Healthcare debt in the United States: an analysis of consumer healthcare debt and its impact on healthcare systems

Pack, Sydney (2020) Healthcare debt in the United States: an analysis of consumer healthcare debt and its impact on healthcare systems. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Healthcare debt in the United States (US) has become an economic and public health issue that continues to place a financial strain on individuals and healthcare systems. More policies could be enacted to assist individuals bearing the financial burden of healthcare debt. There are a number of ways to receive assistance in paying for healthcare debt, but none of the current solutions are consistent or sustainable in the long-term. Policy solutions must be enacted to assist individuals and families bearing this burden currently and in the future.
The policies being proposed in this paper include both a federal and employer-based healthcare debt solution. The federal policy would include creating a new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund program that would provide low-interest lending options to patients post care. The employer-based policy would create a healthcare repayment loan program for employees who are struggling with healthcare debt. Each of these alternative options include assistance to the individual and the hospital, while holding the insurance companies and employers accountable.
The potential healthcare debt policies explored in this paper also have public health relevance. The issues each policy attempts to address are tied to both an individual’s mental health and their access to care. By providing individuals with financial options they feel more in control and not as overburdened by bankruptcy as their only option. With additional options for healthcare debt payment, individuals do not feel as overburdened about accessing healthcare for preventative care. In addressing these public health issues, fewer individuals would have to rely on the emergency department for their care and more on their general practitioner.
The proposed policies for healthcare debt take both the patient and healthcare organization into consideration, with the overall goal of cutting out the collections agencies and payday lenders. By providing a sustainable, financial assistance program that will continue to benefit additional patients in the future, fewer individuals will file for bankruptcy and fewer hospitals will have to write-off bad debt. These policies not only have the potential to benefit individuals and hospitals, but also the US economy.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBroom, Kevinkevinbroom@pitt.edukevinbroom@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberGoodkind, Sarasara.goodkind@pitt.edusara.goodkind@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberShook, Jeffreyjes98@pitt.edujes98@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Date: 22 June 2020
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 40
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MHA - Master of Health Administration
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 20:14
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2020 20:14

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