Individuals Using Tax Refunds to Pay For Healthcare Procedures: Study

Every year, one-in-six families make an “extraordinary” healthcare payment of at least $2,000 in a single month, and most have not recovered financially a year later, according to the results of a new study

There’s also some bad news for collection agencies that are gearing up for tax season. Consumers increase their healthcare spending by 60% in the week after they receive their income tax refund every year, according to the report, which concludes that individuals are largely making healthcare decisions based on how much cash they have in their wallets. 

The report analyzed banking data of individuals to determine their healthcare spending habits. 

A year after making the extraordinary healthcare payment, the amount of liquid assets in a household was 2% less than before the payment was made and the average credit card balance was 9% higher. 

People may even be filing their taxes to time the receipt of their returns to the need to pay for healthcare procedures, the study concluded. For example, individuals who filed their returns in February increased their healthcare spending by 38% in the 75 days after their refund arrived, compared to an increase in healthcare spending of 12% for those who received their refund in April or May. 

Any improvement in a household’s financial situation usually corresponded with a subsequent uptick in healthcare spending. For example, households increased their healthcare spending by 16% after a “downward adjustment” in their mortgage rates. 

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