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Among people with health insurance, one in five (20 percent) working-age Americans reported having problems paying medical bills in the past year that often caused serious financial challenges and changes in employment and lifestyle, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times survey. The situation was even worse among people who were uninsured:  Half (53 percent) faced problems with medical bills, bringing the overall total to 26 percent.

Although insurance can protect people from problem medical bills, the survey suggested that those with employer coverage or other insurance suffered similar consequences as the uninsured once such problems occurred. Among those facing problems with medical bills, almost identical shares of the insured (44 percent) and uninsured (45 percent) said the bills had a major impact on their families.

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