More than half of seriously ill Medicare beneficiaries face financial hardships with medical bills, with prescription drug costs the leading problem, according to a study published Monday. All told, 53% of seriously ill Medicare patients said they had major trouble paying their medical bills. More than a third reported using all or most of their savings to pay medical bills; 27% said they were contacted by a collection agency; and 23% were unable to pay for basics such as food, heat and housing.

“Out-of-pocket costs are very concentrated,” said Anne Kyle, lead author of the study. “The sickest population is also getting the biggest bills. Especially if you are sick over time, you are slowly draining your bank account.”


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