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PRESS RELEASE: New Survey Data: Mainers perceptions re: medical debt and facility fees

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Woloson, Executive Director, Consumers for Affordable Health Care,, 207-458-0416

Kirami Bah, Senior Associate, United States of Care,, 919-271-9879


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

Augusta, ME — New survey data released today confirms that Mainers want more transparent hospital prices and would support policies that ban hospitals from charging facility fees (unexpected expenses tacked onto a patient’s hospital bill, often after a visit to a medical practice or clinic), according to the latest findings by Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC). The survey also corroborates data from 2022 that outlined Mainers’ concerns about health care affordability and their negative experiences with medical debt. Overall, many say it is a challenge to afford the health care they need.

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 full survey can be viewed here.

“While actions have been taken to improve access to health coverage in Maine, too many Mainers continue to struggle with the cost of health care and with medical debt. We all deserve to take care of our health without financial stress or worry,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Mainers have made it clear: establishing transparent hospital prices is a responsible path forward to address high hospital costs. 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 survey data comes on the heels of a report released earlier this month from the legislative task force. The top recommendations include support for improved consumer protections, including facility fees transparency, and limits on facility fees in hospital bills for telehealth services, outpatient evaluations, and office visits.

This polling research was supported by United States of Care, a nonpartisan health care advocacy group, and West Health.