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Americans greatly overestimate large health care expenses

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The UK and Ireland online news media PoliticsJOE went viral in December 2019 by questioning locals about The cost of medical care in the United States. Each person underestimated the cost of each medical care treatment, from the cost of having a baby to the cost of calling an ambulance.

We wanted to see if Americans knew the cost of medical care in their own country. We surveyed a total of 4,000 Americans and found that they expect major hospitalizations to cost a lot of money.

To carry key

  • Less than 1 in 10 Americans correctly guessed the average cost of the hospital to have a baby
  • More than 1 in 10 Americans correctly guessed the cost of fixing a broken leg
  • More than half of Americans correctly guessed the cost of an inhaler
  • Nearly three in four Americans correctly guessed the cost of an eye exam for the first time

The costs of medical care vary greatly depending on numerous factors, including the severity or complexity of the necessary treatment, the state in which you live, the hospital of the medical center you visit and many other factors.

For this study, we refer to general averages, but we want to emphasize that the cost of individual hospitalizations is very different.

Americans expect high prices for major health care expenses

Unlike our British counterparts, many Americans believed that large health care procedures such as repairing a broken leg and childbirth cost a lot of money.

Less than one in 10 Americans could correctly guess the average cost of childbirth.

The average cost of childbirth can vary greatly, but we turn to Project for the use and cost of medical care (HCUP) (sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) For a reference comparison. HCUP found in a 2019 study using 2016 data that uncomplicated births cost $ 1,200 on average, while complicated births cost about $ 8,900 on average.

Complications during childbirth may include perineal tears, early water rupture and excessive bleeding, depending on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). These complications can be expensive, especially in out-of-pocket expenses.

A seven year old study published in 2020 found that the individual invoiced costs remained almost the same over the years. However, the portion paid by the patients increased and they found that the deductibles increased from approximately $ 1,500 to $ 2,500.

In our study, more than one in 10 Americans correctly guessed the cost of repairing a broken leg. HealthCare.gov, a website managed and paid by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. UU. Says that fixing a broken leg can cost up to $ 7,500.

The severity of a broken leg varies according to factors such as the location of the leg injury and the type of injury. the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom He says that compartment syndrome, bone infection and damaged nerves are some complications that a person may experience.

Most Americans realize small health care expenses

Although most Americans have high prices for complex procedures, most could accurately guess the prices of smaller procedures.

Approximately six out of 10 respondents correctly guessed the average cost of an inhaler.

Researchers in GoodRx He discovered that the average cost of an inhaler was more than $ 380 in 2018. This number was produced after analyzing the cash prices of the 16 leading inhaler products in the country from a representative sample of prescription drugs in US pharmacies. .

His report also found that some inhalers are at the lower level of coverage. This means that Americans with asthma may face high copayments or may have to pay the total amount of the inhaler based on their insurance coverage.

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) They discovered that almost half of adults with asthma between 18 and 64 do not have partial or partial insurance coverage, which means they will have to pay out of pocket to cover the difference. A study published in 2017 also found that the annual medical cost per person of asthma was $ 3,266 in 2015 US dollars.

More than three in four Americans correctly guessed the cost of an eye exam for the first time. Fair health estimates (as reported by NVISION Eye Center) that the national average cost of an initial eye exam is $ 200.

Vision correction and eye health resource site AllAboutVision.com He says that the costs of an eye exam may differ depending on who performs the exam, the tests included in the exam and if the exam includes any service related to contact lenses.

Medical bills and your credit report

Understanding how your health insurance works and knowing what it covers are the first steps to understanding your medical bills. In addition to understanding your current coverage, you should also check with your insurance and medical care providers to learn about the different options available for the procedures and treatment that fit your budget.

check with your insurance and health care providers to understand all your options

Understanding costs is crucial since these bills can affect your credit score. However, receiving a medical bill or paying it late does not directly affect your credit score, according to Experience. It only affects your score if a collection agency takes over your debt.

However, some Americans may have debts due to error collection. An error like this can unfairly reduce your credit score and may affect your ability to qualify for personal loans, car loans and more.

If you believe you may have improperly reported medical debt on collections or other errors on your credit report, contact a Lexington Law credit counselor to find out how we can help you identify unverified and incorrect elements of your report.

Methodology

This study was conducted for Lexington Law using Google Consumer Surveys and interpreted by Siege Media. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 complete answers per question. The post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in January 2020.

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