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The Difficult Intersection of Healthcare and Housing

There appears to be a strong correlation between individuals who rent putting off getting medical care because they can not afford it, according to the results of a study that were released yesterday.

In the study, more than half of individuals who rent delayed healthcare because they could not afford it, and 100% of the healthcare professionals who participated in the survey said they had dealt with individuals who expressed concerns or were anxious about affordable housing. When advising those individuals to reduce the amount of stress in their lives, 92% of the healthcare professionals said they were told that financial issues were the biggest trigger in ramping up anxiety levels.

A shortage of low-income housing is exacerbating the financial situations of less wealth individuals and forcing them to choose and prioritize their expenses, and medical bills and treatment are being put on the back-burner.

Nearly half of the individuals who participated in the study and who spent more than 50% of their income on housing said they could not afford to follow a medical treatment plan and 31% said they have delayed annual checkups because of they did not have the money to pay for it.

“We can’t just focus on stability, and we can’t just focus on affordability, and we can’t just focus on quality and safety on the home itself,” says Brian Rahmer, Enterprise VP of health and housing. “The kind of solutions we need to bring to the table are solutions that tackle multiple pathways to health and wellness at the regional or local level.”

Where I think this applies to the credit and collection industry is in the discussions that collectors have with individuals when trying to determine how much someone can pay on a debt. Knowing how much of their income is dedicated to housing-related costs and whether the individual is putting off necessary medical care can help paint a more complete portrait of an individual’s financial situation.

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