There are so many unbelievable costs when it comes to American healthcare that it’s surprising people don’t wrap themselves in bubble wrap. Find some of the worst facts about their system here.
- Thousands of Americans travel to Mexico for healthcare
In the UK, we have the NHS, in Canada, they have the Medicare system and in America, they travel to Mexico. Yep, you read that right: healthcare in the US is so insanely expensive that millions travel to Mexico to get treated.
In 2019, it was reported that “According to Josef Woodman, the CEO of Patients Beyond Borders, an organization advocating for medical travel, as many as 800,000 to 1 million American citizens make the trip from the U.S. to Mexico for affordable treatment each year.”
Woodman admitted that even he relies on Mexican healthcare. “A treatment plan he estimated would cost $15,900 in the U.S. ended up costing Woodman $4,010 in Mexico. “So, I saved about $10,000,” he said. “And that is not unusual. You can save a lot of money.””
- Insurers found an Obamacare loophole
‘But what about Obamacare?’ I hear you ask. Only 17.2% of Americans were covered by Medicare in 2017 and since then, insurers have found a loophole anyway… Doesn’t really come as a surprise, huh?
Woodman explained: “Insurance companies have just figured out all these workarounds where, yes you’re insured, but you’re actually under-insured and you don’t realize it until something bad happens.”
- Healthcare bankruptcy
A study by academic researchers discovered the grim truth about how deep the issue really goes.
“Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall.” … “An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills” – CNBC, 2019. This causes mental health issues which people can’t afford to medicate themselves for, and can intensify to suicidal thoughts.
- Their medical care ranks VERY low
In fact, research by The Commonwealth Fund found that despite Americans paying the highest healthcare costs across all developed countries, they actually have the lowest healthcare outcomes.
Mortality rates in America are higher than other developed countries, with the average life expectancy only 60 years old.
- Medication prices are crazy
Excessively inflated pharmaceutical prices are a huge factor in the cost of healthcare. The 20 top-selling medications worldwide cost on average three times more in America than they do in countries such as Britain, where prescription drug prices are regulated, Scientific American reported.
- As equipment improves, the price of healthcare skyrockets
Research by Statista has found the unbelievable truth that the American healthcare industry was worth $24.7 billion in 1960. It is now worth $3,504 trillion.
- People can’t afford to become doctors
Students in America who get accepted into medical school definitely pay their way for the privilege.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, medical school students in the class of 2017 graduated with an average of $190,694 in student debt.
Medical graduates who are forced to put their student loans in deferment or forbearance during residency – when their average salary is only in the $50,000 range – can expect to repay anything between $348,000 to $418,000 by the time interest has piled up.
- Administrative costs are WAY above average
Administrative work includes paperwork and answering phone calls and in America, the cost of these ‘luxuries’ is grim. It’s estimated that in 2019, admin costs accounted for around 8% of the overall US healthcare costs.
Sure, it’s only $8 for every $100 spent, but when you’re paying $5,000 for your treatment, you’re paying $400 for admin fees… It’s estimated that citizens could save $175 BILLION in healthcare costs by halving administrative costs.
To further put it into perspective, in other developed countries, the average cost of admin fees is between 1% and 3%.
- Women can’t afford to give birth
The average cost of giving birth in America is $10,808 – and that’s just for the lucky ones. Complications can cause the price to skyrocket.
It can reach an unbelievable $30,000 when factoring in care, including check up appointments and scans provided before and after the pregnancy, labour complications and extra pain meds.
The unaffordable price leads to an excessive amount of women avoiding pre-pregnancy jabs, pain relief during labour and after-care such as check ups on the health of the mother and baby.
Many women opt to visit shady backstreet surgeries or give birth at home with their family members acting as nurses, despite no professional knowledge or experience of how to deliver a baby.
- Death by medical error
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical error is the third leading cause of death in America, with only heart disease and cancer killing more citizens.
An estimated 250,000 US patients die due to medical errors every year, accounting for a grim 10% of all U.S. deaths.
- People can’t even afford to retire
Unaffordable healthcare and health insurance are among the top reasons why thousands of Americans delay retirement. Between 2000 and 2016, the amount of Americans aged 65 and older working full-time or part-time rose by 6% – that’s almost 9 million people, as estimated by the Pew Research Center.
Would you believe that a couple retiring at the age of 65 can expect to spend an average of $280,000 on medical costs alone throughout their retirement?
- The rate of American obesity
Research by Business Insider has shown that almost 4 out of 10 Americans are morbidly obese and over 7 out of 10 are overweight.
The high rate of obesity can lead to unforeseen risks such as heart attacks. Experiencing a heart attack is terrifying enough but then you see the bill and suffer a second heart attack…
Believe it or not, receiving care in the hospital for a heart attack costs an average of $20,246 in America.
By contrast, an estimated 4% of Japanese citizens are overweight. And that’s a country where they have sumo wrestlers… Just saying.