While more people who once had no health insurance are now covered thanks to health care reform, many still struggle to pay medical bills, and are learning that the fine print in their policies is worth reading closely.

The Kaiser Family Foundation teamed up with staffers from the New York Times to gather medical care information from more than 2,500 individuals, about half of who  had trouble paying their medical bills.

Twenty percent of those surveyed who had insurance said paying medical bills had caused "serious" disruptions in their lives, including forcing them to shift employment practices to pay the bills and tighten spending in other areas. Still, having coverage proved to be better than not: 53 percent of those who did not have insurance said they struggled with paying medical bills and this led to "serious" challenges for them.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.