Medical debt can affect anyone. It does not discriminate by age or income. Even if you have health insurance, health care costs have become more of a patient’s responsibility, and the amount people incur every year continues to rise for millions of Americans.
It’s not that you can’t afford to pay your debt. Most likely you can. However, if you or a loved one have an accident or are diagnosed with a critical illness, medical debt can be hard to stop. Its impact is far-reaching, beyond a monthly budget. Medical bills can deplete retirement savings, college funds, damage a credit score or cause you to take on more debt as you shift assets to pay for ongoing bills.
Here are some ways medical debt can creep into your life:
- High health insurance deductible
- Non-life threatening chronic conditions that require multiple doctor visits each year and prescription drugs
- Treatments that span over two years or more
- Unavoidable out-of-network care
- Balance billing and high cost-sharing
- Health plan exclusions
- Alternative medicine
- Loss of income due to injury or illness that keeps you from working
- Long term care
While none of these scenarios is optimal, unplanned health issues are unavoidable.
So how can you keep your financial portfolio from suffering a big hit? One way to stay ahead of the financial debt curve, is optimizing your health care resources and investing in supplemental insurance.
By saving on health care, the money not spent can even be reinvested into an interest-bearing account, adding to your retirement savings.
Here is a real-life example about Carrie and Bob, who have three children.
- Bob has high blood pressure, so he sees a cardiology specialist twice a year for medication maintenance.
- Carrie gets the flu at least once a year and requires a doctor’s office visit and medication.
- The kids get sick and require a doctor visit three times a year. They also require prescription medications each time they see a physician. That equals nine doctor visits a year for the children alone.
In a typical year, with no unexpected medical costs, this family sees a regular physician 10 times a year, and a specialist twice a year.
Total out-of-pocket costs for Carrie and Bob during the year are $1,088 for doctor office visits alone. If they have a health insurance plan with a family deductible of more than $1,000, the costs for the medical debt is completely their responsibility.
If they had a HealthValues membership, the 10 standard doctor visits would be covered free of charge. That would save them $760 a year on health care. If Carrie and Bob choose to take the money saved, and reinvest it in a high-yield savings account at 5%, they would earn an additional $419.35 over a 10-year period.
HealthValues membership also covers unexpected accidents if one of the kids is injured while playing sports. Included with membership is a cash benefit, paid out for the covered accident or critical illness diagnosis, which provides Carrie and Bob’s retirement savings an extra level of protection from medical debt.
While retirement savings you can planned for, sudden health issues aren’t so easy to calculate. It pays to enhance your current health plan with supplemental benefits that can help lower medical debt, and allow you to reinvest in your retirement future with the money saved.
Read more stories about how HealthValues members can save or join today!