(WHTM) — Health care is a major financial issue in this country. But did you ever stop to think about just how much it actually costs you?
The results of a new study may surprise you.
“When it comes to getting a grip on how much health care is likely to cost us in the future, we are widely underestimating those costs,” said financial expert Jean Chatzky.
Chatzky has seen the numbers, and they are eye-opening.
Over the course of a lifetime, the average American will spend nearly $320,000 in un-reimbursed health care costs. That figure is for people who have insurance.
For those who don’t have insurance, that number jumps up to $700,000 in un-reimbursed health care costs.
“The problem with this is that people have A, no idea what these costs are likely to be and B, when they get hit with some sort of medical procedure or medical event instead of dealing with it, they’re just putting it off and we all know that when you put things off in the medical world, they get much worse and much more expensive down the line,” said Chatzky.
The survey showed that people who thought they were spending $850 a year on health care costs were actually spending closer to $2,000.
The out-of-pocket costs for those who have insurance includes premiums, co-pays, and prescriptions.
This does not include costs for chronic conditions or long-term care, in fact many people are unprepared for these expenses and are not saving for them.
“You think about college, you think about retirement you think about buying your first home. We save and invest for all of those things, but people are not saving for health care costs. They’re not putting money aside. Four out of five tell us they don’t have a separate savings account for these needs… they absolutely should,” said Chatzky.
Chatzky also mentioned that you need to plan now for unexpected medical costs.
“Access the solutions you might have available to you, a health savings account, a flexible spending account, and the ability to finance these things.”
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“I think the big takeaway is health care is an expense that is more on you than it has ever been in the past. The cost has shifted from the employer to the consumer, you better get prepared,” said Chatzky.
One way to prepare is by doing your research. You can look into how much medical procedures cost and have conversations with medical professionals about payment solutions.