New study reveals Americans unprepared for medical bills

Independent market research company Ipsos released a study showing that many Americans are unable to handle unexpected medical bills.

Almost three-quarters of Americans have seen their healthcare costs rise in the past few years. Most want to see costs go down, but don’t know how. For some, this means avoiding care altogether.

One in five Americans avoid going to the doctor to avoid medical costs, including 56 percent of people without insurance and 27 percent of millennials. But by avoiding preventative care and early detection, patients risk higher costs down the road.

Most Americans are unaware of how much care costs and 49 percent agree that their insurance doesn’t provide them with enough information to determine their healthcare costs. Ipsos asked the study participants to estimate how much a broken arm will cost and 46 percent believed it would cost less than $500, when the median price is more than twice that at $1,100.

To fight unexpected bills, some Americans are asking for cost estimates before receiving care. Another study by HIT Consultant found that in 2015, 41 percent of millennials requested cost estimates, compared to only 21 percent of baby boomers and 18 percent of seniors. However, 34 percent of the time, the final bill was higher than the estimate.

Fewer Americans are actively saving for health costs. With only 32 percent of Americans currently contributing to a HSA, unexpected medical bills can easily turn into medical debt. In fact, 37 percent of American could not afford an unexpected medical bill over $100 without going into debt. That number increases to 77 percent for bills more than $2,000.