Everyone is looking for new ways to save up some money these days, but you may not realize just how much your medical bills are costing you these days. A report by The Commonwealth Fund states that the average American in 2011 paid a little over $8,500 on health care costs — but as costs rise, experts note that the average health care bill per year will only keep increasing. And this increase doesn’t mean that you might have a year or two where money is tight because of an unexpected injury or illness — believe it or not, your health care bills might actually be affecting your retirement (or lack thereof) and your long-term well being.
The Huffington Post notes that, according to a 2013 Gallup survey, the average age of retirement for Americans was 61 — up from 57 years just 20 years ago. And this statistic doesn’t mean that Americans will actually end up retiring at 61; on average, Americans state that they plan on working until they’re 66. One of the most compelling reasons that workers give for delaying retirement is that they simply can’t afford medical bills without insurance, and many employers do not offer any insurance after employees retire. Medicare becomes available once you’ve reached 65, but even a few years of uninsured medical treatments can incur huge bills.
It’s also noted that many Americans don’t go to the doctor because they’re scared of getting huge bills (leading to more debt). Regular checkups often seem unnecessary (especially without insurance), but the major downside of not receiving regular medical attention is that serious problems could go undetected for so long that they become expensive, and potentially impossible, to treat.
“Many individuals and families feel a primary care physician is a luxury they cannot afford and only seek medical attention at urgent cares and emergency rooms when they can no longer cope with the symptoms they are experiencing,” says Terri Porter of Doctors Express Phoenix. “Often times they are much sicker than they realize.”
The good news is that the health care industry is starting to acknowledge its flaws, and is starting to offer Americans more affordable and convenient options when it comes to medical treatment (and no, we aren’t referring to WebMD). Between offering more generic prescriptions and opening up more independent walk-in clinics, industry experts are helping people across the country to get the medical treatment they need and deserve.