As if hearing that you’ve got a battle against cancer ahead of you isn’t frightening enough, a new study in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that nearly half of newly diagnosed patients will exhaust their assets within two years of starting treatment.
The study lasted 12 years and examined 9.5 million people, ranging in age from 59-78 (which means they likely had substantial savings to start with), and revealed that 42.2% of them were broke after 2 years of treatment. Which isn’t hard to imagine considering the average cost of treatment (insured or not) was over $92,000 in that same 2-year span.
Healthcare costs could be one reason that, even though overall the American economy looks healthy on paper, people are feeling the vise of financial insecurity tighten with each passing day. A Federal Reserve report supports this claim, finding that 40% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a single emergency expense, never mind an ongoing medical crisis like a cancer diagnosis.
The same report states that 25% of Americans have no retirement savings, so suffice to say they wouldn’t have any way to shell out $90,000 for cancer treatments. Many would argue that a devastating diagnosis shouldn’t break a person, that one should be able to focus on beating the odds and coming out the other side alive, instead of worrying about how they’re going to pay their rent during the process.
Or maybe that’s just me.