A study from JAMA Health Forum found the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying financial challenges were not associated with any changes in medical debt.

Researchers analyzed trends in medical debt between January 2018 and September 2021 among 37 million people and used credit reports from the credit reporting agency TransUnion.

Between the first and second quarters of 2020, medical debt in collections declined, according to the study. The last two quarters of the year, when COVID-19 infection rates peaked, saw a minor increase in medical debt; however, the first and second quarters of 2021 saw a decline.

The results suggest that any increases in medical debt were offset by fewer elective medical procedures and new health care policies implemented during the pandemic.

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