Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Strengthening the Campaign to End Medical Debt in New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

September 26, 2022


Outside New York State



In Progress



Medical debt is a crushing burden for New Yorkers. A recent survey found that more than half of New Yorkers struggle to pay medical bills.

Low-income communities and communities of color outside of New York City have been particularly hard hit by medical debt, exacerbating existing health and socioeconomic inequities. A coalition of partners has run a successful End Medical Debt in New York campaign, with NYHealth and other philanthropic support, to advocate for solutions. In 2022, NYHealth awarded the Urban Institute a grant to advocate for policy changes that protect New Yorkers from unfair medical debt.

Under this grant, the Urban Institute will examine the scope and nature of medical debt across New York State and its disproportionate burden on certain communities, including people of color and those with low income. It will produce a report that demonstrates how medical debt varies across New York State, regionally and in select counties, and identify medical debt hot spots for common themes such as racial/ethnic composition, income and poverty levels, and uninsurance rates. Urban will also examine the average amount of medical debt in communities and see which ones stand to benefit from credit reporting changes. It will produce supplemental data tables that can be used to engage policymakers. Findings will provide consumers, advocates, and policymakers with the most comprehensive picture of medical debt patterns in New York State to date.

NYHealth is also supporting two complementary initiatives for ending medical debt in New York State, with grants to the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Central New York.