A Trump administration rule that went into effect at the beginning of the year is requiring hospitals to reveal publicly for the first time what they charge for their services. A recent Wall Street Journal article How Much Does a C-Section Cost? $6,241. Or $60,584 does a great job exposing the wildly varying prices charged even within a single facility for the same procedure. The article correctly cites the United States as having the most expensive healthcare in the world.
According to a 2019 study by the American Journal of Public Health, a staggering 66.5% of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. were for medical reasons. More than half of all unpaid bills sent to collection agencies are medical-related. As a small employer, it costs me over $9,000 per year per employee to provide health insurance coverage that STILL requires a $6,900 deductible before kicking in. That’s insane.
What does all of this mean? It means the cost of healthcare is a critical personal financial consideration. Before you change jobs, you have to consider what it will cost in terms of health insurance. As evidenced above, the cost of care significantly restricts an employer’s ability to hire new people and can limit aspirations for those seeking better careers. Healthcare costs are more inefficient and more of a drag on our economy even than taxes.
The self-employed get hit the hardest. The Affordable Care Act provides a safety net for low-income families. Still, anyone trying to make a good living independently will find themselves in a no man’s land. If you incrementally make more than the Obamacare subsidy limits, you’ll take home less money.
Failing to take into account healthcare coverage will deep-six an early retirement scenario faster than anything. Medicare becomes available to working Americans at age 65. Even if you have saved enough to replace your income before age 65, you’ll have to consider what to do for healthcare before leaping. In most cases, this means trying to find some way somehow to acquire coverage through an employer.
The bottom line: the healthcare crisis in our country is far from over. It continues to suck critical financial resources out of our pockets, restricting our ability to plan out and live financially rewarding lives. Therefore, we have to carefully consider healthcare costs when planning our careers and retirement plans and make adjustments as necessary.