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'They don't have any savings:' Many Americans scared to seek medical care due to cost

'If you read in the study, most of them couldn't cover, what I would consider a minor deductible, $250, $500,' Paul Oster says
Posted at 6:36 PM, Apr 11, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — According to a new study by Assurance IQ, many Americans are afraid to seek medical care because of the cost.

In a lengthy new study by Assurance IQ, there are some eye-opening findings about health care.

The study says, "(65%) of Americans couldn't say for certain what their health insurance deductible was, meaning it's unlikely they budgeted sufficiently for out-of-pocket costs. Nearly one-fifth (19%) avoided seeking care in the past year, because they were unsure if insurance would cover it."

"You know, this is part of the latency and lag period that we're all experiencing right now with the downturn in the economy," Paul Oster, a credit repair specialist and founder of Better Qualified, said.

Paul Oster Americans medical care April 11 2024
Expert Paul Oster explains how Oster said inflation and rising costs are a big part of Americans not seeking medical care.

Oster said inflation and the rising cost of rent, homeowners insurance and car insurance are a big part of the problem.

"If you read in the study, most of them couldn't cover, what I would consider a minor deductible, $250, $500," Oster said. "They don't have any savings, because of all their money is being eaten up by this new inflationary environment."

The study also found, "Individuals navigating government health exchanges demonstrated the highest levels of confusion. (61%) said they skipped care due to costs in the past year compared to less than half (48%) of those with employer-sponsored coverage and 47% of those with Medicaid."

"What they're doing is they're putting it off, which is actually increasing the cost of medical care," Chuck Czajka, personal finance advisor, said.

Chuck Czajka personal finance advisor says people should seek medical care and save where possible April 11 2024.png
Chuck Czajka, personal finance advisor, says people should seek medical care and save where possible.

Czajka said while some medical bills and co-pays are pricey, putting off that doctor visit is never the answer.

He advises consumers to cut unnecessary spending where they can and save.

"You've got to hang on to your dollars. Today's dollar is the most valuable dollar you're ever going to have because of inflation eroding it," Czajka said. "So you might want to figure out a way to save more, maybe set up health care accounts, separate accounts for deductibles down the road, in case you need that."