The Patient Advocate Foundation, one of the nation's largest organizations providing counseling and guidance to consumers confronting healthcare issues, reported a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of individuals it assisted in 2010, reports Healthcare Finance News.
The Virginia-based organization counseled nearly 83,000 individuals last year, up 49.5 percent from 2009. Two-thirds of those the foundation assisted reported issues involving medical-related debt or other cost-of-living expenses. However, more than three-quarters of those who received aid had some form of health insurance.
"As the number of patients assisted by PAF increases year to year, the PAF population becomes more representative of the U.S. population in terms of demographic characteristics and access issues," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, the foundation's CEO. She added that the increase in the number of patients seeking assistance was "extreme."
Of those who were counseled, 71 percent were cancer patients, and the remainder had chronic conditions. Twenty-five percent of the total were Medicare beneficiaries, up 38 percent from 2009.