Getting Sick Can Be Really Expensive, Even for the Insured

“New research shows that for a substantial fraction of Americans, a trip to the hospital can mean a permanent reduction in income. Some people bounce right back, but many never work as much again. On average, people in their 50s who are admitted to the hospital will experience a 20 percent drop in income that persists for years. Over all, income losses dwarfed the direct costs of medical care,” according to the New York Times.

“The pattern and impact are comparable to what happens to workers at a mill when it closes.”

“The authors of the paper, published in The American Economic Review, were surprised by how often an illness or injury could upend the finances of Americans with health insurance.”

Said MIT economist Amy Finkelstein: “I had sort of assumed that if they had health insurance, then they had economic protections against health shocks. I hadn’t thought about the idea that even with the best gold-plated, fancy health insurance, you could still have a lot of economic risk.”

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