While Americans may be growing more confident in their personal finances, many households remain seriously in debt, and medical expenses may be one of the most troubling sources of financial woes.
A report released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control found younger families and working class households have been hit hardest by medical debt. Specifically, 1 in 5 families are burdened by medical debt, and half of them are unable to pay off balances. "Soon, federal law will require every American to have insurance, but nothing controls what health insurers can charge," said Carmen Balber with the Consumer Watchdog Campaign. "States need the power to say no to excessive health insurance premium hikes." Insurance markets have been facing a slew of regulatory challenges in recent years. Last month, regulators in New York, California and Washington established mandates for state insurers to disclose how they plan to respond to risks regarding severe storms, wildfires, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. Lenders and large financial institutions have adopted similar consumer credit
risk management programs to hedge against poor loans and toxic assets.