Illness, diseases, and ailments commonly occur everywhere and are of varying natures and degrees. However, we rarely discuss the cost of treatment for various illnesses and the financial implication of reacquiring ‘healthy’ status. In this article, we will discuss the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
All living beings are prone to illness and disease, which results in pain along with physical and emotional trauma. It also results in debilitation, poor quality of life and sometimes death. These are unfortunate but widely known and well-documented facts of life. Knowing the illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt can help in every way. Cancer, cardiac disease, obesity, diabetes, mental illnesses, chronic kidney disease, arthritis, and asthma; make it to the top of the list of expensive illnesses that can lead to medical bankruptcy.
9 Expensive Medical Illnesses That Can Cause You To Go Bankrupt
Treatment for illnesses calls for regular medical check-ups, inpatient care at hospitals, access to medical equipment, drugs and medication, surgery, paid living assistance while debilitated by illness and many other big and small expenditures. Medical treatment may be readily available today but is very expensive. Some chronic and life-threatening diseases can lead to ‘medical bankruptcy’, which is a phrase coined for a new-age phenomenon of losing all of one’s financial resources, savings, and assets; as a result of expensive treatment for an illness.
Listed below are the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
It’s a known fact that heart diseases can be expensive to treat, but let’s consider the facts and figures to illuminate more on this. It is noted that more than 859,000 Americans die of heart disease or stroke every year.1 Studies have shown that direct medical costs related to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are more extensive than those of any other disease.2 Also, patients requiring secondary CVD hospitalization incurred annual costs that were 4.5 times higher than those who were not hospitalized.3 It is also noted that the treatment costs are higher in the presence of other comorbid conditions like kidney disease and diabetes.3 Thus, heart disease is one of the major 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
Cancer too is an expensive medical illness that can cause you to go bankrupt. Cancer is of various kinds and it’s fair to say that none of them are inexpensive to treat. Cancer treatments call for expensive drugs, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, many doctors’ visits, surgery and yet the disease can persist. It is easy to see how every form of cancer can be difficult and expensive to treat. In the United States, more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year and around 600,000 dies from it. The cost of cancer treatment is rising every year and is expected to be almost $174 billion by 2020.1 Early cancer detection programs are necessary to reduce the burden of cancer care cost. The costs of treatment at later stages of cancer are higher than treatment in early stages and may not be as effective too.4
Diabetes is yet another lifelong health condition that is extremely expensive to treat or manage. Diabetics spend their whole lives on expensive drugs and insulin to counter the life-threatening symptoms of diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health; treatment for diabetes costs Americans an estimated $825 billion per year. So, diabetes is yet another chronic condition and one of the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.5
Chronic kidney disease that often calls for dialysis and kidney transplant can be one of the most financially ravaging illnesses to bear. While health insurance policies and healthcare packages from governments around the world can provide relief; the cost of treatment for chronic kidney disease is no less catastrophic. Kidney disease and its related complications increase the healthcare costs making it one of the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
Asthma is a chronic ailment characterized by breathing difficulties. Individuals afflicted by asthma deal with this condition over a lifetime, as the symptoms can be treated but there isn’t a cure for asthma. This means that asthma treatment costs build up over the years thus making it one of the 8 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt. In 2007; Americans spent 56 billion on various asthma treatments; both big and small. The number of people grew by 28% every year from 2001 to 2011.6 For those enjoying medical insurance; being asthmatic since childhood can attract even higher health insurance premiums. Thus, asthma proves to be a financial burden and is one of the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, a brain disorder that affects about 5.7 million Americans. In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease were estimated between $159 billion and $215 billion and expected to rise in the future.1
Arthritis is a chronic condition characterized by painful joints and knuckles that afflict the elderly. While there is no proper cure, self-management and rehabilitation can be done to reduce the discomfort. Arthritis is managed with the help of expensive medications, therapies and assistive aids that can make it one of the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt. Many governments and organizations around the world do provide health support for senior citizens including meeting the cost of the treatment of arthritis completely or partially, yet it is an expensive illness to bear and can cause you to go bankrupt.
While mental illnesses aren’t conspicuously life-threatening; they can lead to a dismal quality of life, failure to hold down a job and even a lifelong dependence on expensive mind-altering drugs. Additionally; one cannot discount treatment and boarding costs at mental health facilities; all of which can often drive the family of a mental patient into bankruptcy.
Obesity can seem to be rather harmless but can lead to a range of ailments that cost a good amount of money to treat. It affects almost 1 in 5 children and 1 in 3 adults, increasing their risk of chronic, expensive medical problems.1 Heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other ailments are closely related to obesity and so is a decrease in productivity at the workplace. It is easy to see how obesity is an expensive human condition, hence one of the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt.
Now that we have discussed the 9 expensive medical illnesses that can cause you to go bankrupt, you are aware of which medical conditions can be difficult to manage both, medically and financially. This aims at creating a sense of awareness towards preventing these medical conditions not only for health reasons but also for the rising costs of their management.