Medical costs are driving millions of people into poverty

Healthcare expenses forced 8 million Americans into poverty in 2018, according to the Census Bureau, an improvement from the past several years, when an annual average of 11 million people fell into poverty because of medical costs!

The Census Bureau tracks how social programs and expenses influence poverty rates.

  • Social Security, SNAP benefits and housing subsidies are among the most effective anti-poverty programs.
  • But year after year, medical expenses remain the largest contributor to increasing the number of individuals in poverty.
  • Most people who have insurance and who make less than 150% of the federal poverty level don’t have enough liquid assets to cover a $1,500 deductible.

People who don’t have insurance are the most likely to fall into poverty, due to the high prices of drugs and procedures. But even working Americans who have insurance coverage are facing bleaker financial futures because employers have shifted more health care costs onto their shoulders.

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