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Expanding Access & Affordability

February 2024
New survey shows most Mainers support transparent hospital prices, limits to unexpected fees,
confirming concerns about health care costs and medical debt and showing strong support for price transparency and limits on what hospitals can charge as “facility fees”

Key findings from the Perceptions of Health Care Affordability and Hospital Facility Fees in Maine survey include:

  • Half of all surveyed Mainers find it difficult to afford health care; many responded it is very difficult to afford health care.
  • Four out of ten Mainers have taken on medical debt within the past five years; three out of four who took on medical debt in the past five years still have that debt.
  • Two out of three Mainers say they would have difficulty paying a $500 medical expense.
  • Hospital-owned facilities are, by far, the most common source of medical debt, with six out of ten saying the largest share of their debt came from a hospital facility.
  • Almost eight out of ten Mainers would support a law that banned hospitals from charging facility fees outside of a hospital – a clear majority strongly support that type of ban.
  • Nine out of ten would support laws that require medical providers to disclose their facility fees to patients before they receive treatment.

The survey results, coupled with the Task Force to Evaluate the Impact of Facility Fees on Patients recommendations, show there is a need – and resounding support for – both transparent prices and additional steps to address rising health care costs and medical debt in Maine. The full survey can be viewed here.

May 2023
Views of Maine Voters On Health Care Affordability Results of a Survey Conducted on Behalf of Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care

  • Two out of three Mainers with commercial insurance are concerned about unexpected medical expenses.

  • One in three Mainers struggled to pay for basic necessities, such as food, heat, or housing, within the past two years, as a result of a medical bill. Among those who struggled to pay for necessities, nearly three quarters reported they experienced this as the result of a hospital bill.

  • Nearly one in three Mainers reported they had been contacted by a collection agency about a medical bill within the past two years, of which more than 80% said they were sent to collections as the result of a hospital bill.

Download the report here for full survey results.



An exploration of policy solutions and consumer protections related to medical credit cards, the reporting of medical debt, hospital financial assistance programs and facility fees

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reveals just how impactful the prescription drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will be. The new data show the first 10 drugs subject to price negotiation under Medicare, starting in 2026, currently make up nearly 20 percent of the Medicare Part D benefit. In addition, Part B beneficiaries might see reduced coinsurances in 2024 because of the IRA’s inflation rebate provision.

It's worth it, therefore, to revisit this landmark legislation that puts affordability at the center of heath care policy objectives.

For many years, national polling has revealed that families in America struggle with the high cost of health care, and that health care costs impact decisions about insurance coverage and if and when to seek health care. In fact, health care costs rank as a top financial worry for people across the country.[1] Our survey results are consistent with nationwide trends; Maine families, like many families across the country, are struggling to afford and access the care and coverage they need.