Americans Keep Spending More on Healthcare, And It’s Hurting Poorer Families The Most

Americans continue to spend more of their own money on healthcare expenses and that dynamic is especially problematic for individuals who make the least amount of money, according to a report issued by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

For the the third straight year, the amount of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for Americans increased from the year before, reaching $625 in 2017, up nearly $100 from when the institute first started tracking the number back in 2014. The 8.5% annual increase in that total is the largest rate of increase in the three years that JPMorgan has been tracking the data point.

While the richest 20% of Americans spent the most out-of-pocket money on healthcare, at $1,242, the poorest 20% of Americans were facing the largest burden on their overall incomes, spending 2.8% of their salaries on healthcare expenses, almost three times higher than the 1.1% for the richest 20% of Americans.

On a state level, families in Utah and Idaho had the largest healthcare spending burdens, according to the report, which looked at healthcare spending among Chase’s banking customers.

“We observed positive growth across every state and demographic group and an acceleration since 2014,” the report concluded. “In addition, for the first time in three years, we observed an uptick in the burden of healthcare spending as a fraction of take-home income. This increase in burden occurred across demographic groups but was largest among families in the lowest income quintile and families living in Utah.”

The individuals with the highest healthcare burdens — the top 10% of spenders — accounted for 52% of all healthcare spending and spent five times as much as the average spender, according to the report. For the top 10%, the average amount spent on healthcare was $3,255 last year.

In analyzing the spending habits, Chase also concluded that March is the month where individuals spend the most on healthcare, deducing that tax refunds are propelling more individuals to take care of health-related issues because they have the money to pay for the procedures.


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