Medical Debt is an Important Social Determinant of Health

Increased medical debt = worse physical and mental health, premature death, and elevated mortality rates

  • Expansion of Medicaid income eligibility led to reduction in medical debt and decreased healthcare disparities.
  • Employers can reduce medical debt burden by providing paid sick leave and health savings account benefits.
  • Hospitals can help alleviate debt by strengthening communication about costs and providing payment planning services.


Han X, Hu X, Zheng Z, Shi KS, Yabroff KR. Associations of Medical Debt With Health Status, Premature Death, and Mortality in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7:e2354766.