Nearly 2 million Americans will file for bankruptcy this year after coming into financial hardship due to the diagnosis of a medical condition. The medical expense is currently the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in America – surpassing bankruptcy as a result of credit card debt or mortgage payments.
These figures are somewhat unsurprising when you consider that two out of every 1,000 people will rack up $100,000 or more in medical bills each year. Treatment for some of the most common medical conditions such as coronary heart disease can cost insurers billions of dollars every year.
However, even those of us who are insured can still fall into financial difficulty if we become too unfit to work, or do not have the financial security to support ourselves through our time of need.
Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the U.S. with an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed this year not to mention the 589,430 people who will die from the disease. It is an, unfortunately, common condition that will affect many of us either directly or indirectly at some point in our lives.
The average cost of cancer treatment for a single patient each year is $49,000 dollars – an amount that would leave many of us out-of-pocket if it were not for our health insurance. In addition to treatment costs, however, many people find that they have extra, unplanned expenses related to their care.
For some people, these additional costs can stop them from following or completing their cancer treatment, putting their health at risk and leading to higher costs in the future.
It is important then to consider the different types of costs related to your care should you develop a condition that requires a prolonged period of treatment.
Some costs are naturally more obvious than others, for example, the cost of certain medications that are not covered by your insurance plan. You should find
You should find ways to reduce medication bills and save on prescription drugs when cost of medication is beyond your budget. The less obvious costs relate to how the treatment of a medical condition like cancer will affect your day-to-day life.
For example, the cost of regular trips to the doctor’s office in gasoline, parking, and even childcare should you need it. Depending on the diagnosis, your treatment schedule may affect the number of hours you can work.
Even prolonged rehabilitation process often takes up enough resources. Mostly the best mode of rehabilitation, like Chiropractor, Acupuncture, etc are not covered (or partially covered) under most insurance plans.
Presenteeism, being present at work, but not fully equipped mentally or physically to give your 100%, takes up 1/3 of productivity. We don’t realize, but we suffer from presenteeism very often. This is one of the biggest hidden cost for an employer.
Research suggests that 33% of people living with cancer have to stop working either temporarily or permanently which will ultimately have a knock-on effect on their income.
It’s advised that you formulate a plan by grouping your different financial costs into their various types by your needs. This could mean costs of doctors’ appointments, medication, transportation, and general living expenses.
Breaking down your costs in this way may make you feel less anxious about the issues at hand, however, there is help available if the financial burden becomes too great.
Your health insurance provider will also be able to help you better understand the costs of any future diagnosis. As well as this, there are also a number of local and national organizations there to provide help and guidance should you need it.
Overall, this underlines the importance of proper medical cover in providing some defense should the worst happen. Readers, this is high time that you review your health insurance, as annual insurance renewal is just around the corner. Make sure you secure appropriate medical coverage for your family and also make sure you have short-term and long-term disability coverage. They don’t cost a fortune in terms of premium, but they sure protect us from being financially devastated.
Make sure you secure appropriate medical coverage for your family and also make sure you have short-term and long-term disability coverage. They don’t cost a fortune in terms of premium, but they sure protect us from being financially devastated.
Tina @ PROFinance Blog says
I never imaged about all the hidden cost. Thanks for sharing it.
kevin @ Growing Family Benefits says
Do not overlook lost income. In addition to left-over medical expenses, many people are unable to work when they experience a major health event. A combination of lost income and higher expenses tips many people over the edge. Buy disability insurance to protect against this risk.
Diane Adam says
Even in a country with universal healthcare like Australia, a prolonged illness can have a serious impact on your finances. A healthy emergency fund and income protection insurance are definite ‘must haves’.
I am one of those unfortunate people too much debt due to medical bills
And to make it worst last year my wife was paralyzed from waist down and required extensive rehabilitation and then my son became sick and also broke a foot and me recently had a heart attack and my co-pays are getting higher each year plus medical bills are NOT covered 100% only 80 % the rest it’s my responsibility plus the co-pays. Not counting the missing days of work and I am the only source of income.
The Patient Story says
For younger cancer patients, there’s also the challenge of figuring out fertility treatments to ensure that you can still have children after chemo. Unfortunately things like IVF aren’t always covered by insurance, so looking for organizations that provide financial support can be crucial.