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zbicyclist

This is in the last year, and 10% of the amounts were small (less than $125) suggesting a lot of these were people forgetting to pay a bill, or perhaps arguing with a hospital/insurance company over whose responsibility it is to pay.

Note that this is basically the same as the number from a Fed study 10 years earlier.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/29/a-third-of-consumers-had-debts-in-collections-last-year/

Your general point -- that reporters are garbling the statistics in this study -- is certainly valid, based on the articles I've read today.

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