Monday, April 24, 2017

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

Medical bills piling up? No problem. Just stiff the health care provider. Why not. You got the treatment. You feel better. Doctors and hospitals make a lot of money. They can afford to write off my bill.

Sadly, far too many people have that attitude.

Obamacare didn't CAUSE this problem, but the number of patients willing to skate on paying a medical bill is on the rise. Higher premiums. Higher deductibles. Higher out of pocket.

Even if the patient WANTS to pay their bill, often they can't. A Kaiser study confirms this.

Four in ten (43 percent) adults with health insurance say they have difficulty affording their deductible, and roughly a third say they have trouble affording their premiums and other cost sharing; all shares have increased since 2015. 

Three in ten (29 percent) Americans report problems paying medical bills, and these problems come with real consequences for some. For example, among those reporting problems paying medical bills, seven in ten (73 percent) report cutting back spending on food, clothing, or basic household items. 

Challenges affording care also result in some Americans saying they have delayed or skipped care due to costs in the past year, including 27 percent who say they have put off or postponed getting health care they needed, 23 percent who say they have skipped a recommended medical test or treatment, and 21 percent who say they have not filled a prescription for a medicine. 

Even for those who may not have had difficulty affording care or paying medical bills, there is still a widespread worry about being able to afford needed health care services, with half of the public expressing worry about this.

Almost half of people would have difficulty paying a $500 medical bill. About one in five would not be able to pay that bill at all.

While some see this as an indictment of the current health care and health insurance system, it is also a statement about money management skills.

#MedicalDebts #UnaffordableHealthCare #Obamacare #Medicare
blog comments powered by Disqus