Black and Latino workers lost more income during pandemic
“The good news is that the safety net has worked well for people,” Collins says.
According to the survey, over the past year, the pandemic has had a profound effect on most American households, with 45% of those polled saying they had lost income, lost health care coverage, or had been infected with COVID-19. And the consequences of these negative experiences could linger for years in the form of medical debt. Notably, in the survey, 43% said recent medical debt resulted in them having a lower credit score, 35% said medical debt caused them to use up all their savings, and 27% said debt medical treatment had prevented them from paying for basic necessities, such as food, heat and rent.
Policymakers really need to “look at the high rate of people reporting that their credit scores have been affected by their medical debt,” Collins says. “This indicates that debts are being sent to collection agencies and their credit scores are ruined due to medical debts. Do we really want to penalize people’s finances for the health care they needed and wanted to pay for? “
Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and occupations, careers and the federal government for the AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and American News and World Report, where he reported on government and politics, business, education, science and technology, and lifestyle news.