The High Cost of Health Care
A financial strategy can take health care costs into account.
One of the most ubiquitous aspects of social media in recent years has been the arrival of Americans crowdfunding around a major health issue. While America has a level of health care available that rivals the rest of the world, there is no denying that some treatments can be notably expensive. GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website, has raised over $5 billion since 2010; their CEO, Rob Solomon, says that a third of their campaigns fund health care costs and that this category gets more donations than any other.1
You may know someone who has been forced to seek out the generosity of their own network in order to cover the costs of health care, medicine, or treatments. It may put you in mind of your own immediate or extended family and how you or they might deal with such a situation.
Coverage may not cover everything. Sophia Nelson runs a business, has authored books, and describes herself as “doing well.” But in a recent piece in USA TODAY she revealed, “[My] medical emergency devastated me financially. Unable to work as hard as I was used to […] I had to start over in my mid-40s. It took me five years just to recover.” The idea of “doing well” is subjective, but it doesn’t take much to imagine a health crisis taking a major bite out of anyone’s savings, or worse yet, wiping them out entirely.2
It’s a common fear. A 2019 Gallup poll on the subject revealed that 46% of Americans believe that they won’t be able to afford their health care. If you or someone you know skipped treatment due to cost, they join a full quarter of Gallup’s respondents who did the same. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that everyone seems to have health care costs on their mind; a third of respondents earning $180,000 or more per year have concerns about a health issue leading to a bankruptcy.2
What do you do? When mapping out your financial strategy, it’s perfectly sensible to make allowances for health issues, including your insurance coverage, health savings accounts, and other ways for your family to meet those concerns, head on.
It’s easy to be afraid, but you’re also probably considering a strategy. While it’s not possible to plan for every contingency, if the concern is facing a financial issue, talking to a financial professional may help you allay some of those fears.
1 - npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/27/633979867/patients-are-turning-to-gofundme-to-fill-health-insurance-gaps [12/27/18]
2 - usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/06/02/health-care-insurance-driving-americans-bankruptcy-column/1276207001/ [6/2/19]