One of the leading causes cited by consumers filing for bankruptcy is inability to pay expensive medical bills. A recent international survey shows why this may be the case. According to the report published by the Washington Post, Americans patients spend the most for their health care :
Nearly a third of U.S. patients reported spending more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for their care, far outpacing all other nations. Canadians and Australians came next, with only 14 percent of patients spending that much.
In addition to these expenses, Americans are most likely to refuse medical assistance for financial reasons:
Americans were also much more likely to report forgoing needed treatment because of cost. About half of Americans said they had decided not to fill a prescription, see a doctor when they were sick or get recommended follow-up tests. About 38 percent of patients in New Zealand reported going without care, as did 34 percent in Australia, 28 percent in Germany, 26 percent in Canada and 13 percent in Britain.
The moral to this story? It pays big to be prepared for medical expenses. Even though it can be expensive, medical insurance coverage is much cheaper than the high costs of paying for medical treatment on your own. A simple visit to an emergency room for a broken bone can cost you thousands without insurance. Establishing an emergency savings account and having access to credit cards are two additional preparations everyone should make. You can also consider opening a health savings account that allows you to pay for your medical bills pre-tax.