Heart Disease Financial Help

| March 6, 2016 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post
Heart Disease Financial Help

Heart Disease Financial Help

Evaluating the Physical and Financial Risk of Heart Disease

By Jan Martin, Combined Insurance

There is a common saying that everyone knows someone who has had cancer or is currently suffering from cancer. The same thing can be said about heart disease and why heart disease financial help is important.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 26.6 million people in the United States who currently have heart disease, and that more than 750 thousand Americans suffer a heart attack each year. The CDC also estimates that nearly half of all adults carry at least one major risk factor for heart disease—high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, unhealthy diet, and/or a lack of exercise.

With spring in the air and people ready to become more active, it is a great time for all of us to reflect on our lifestyle and check in with our healthcare provider to determine our risk level for heart disease. It’s also a good time to determine how prepared you are for the financial impact a heart attack could have on you and your family.

Heart attack’s financial impact

The obvious costs are the medical expenses – those incurred from the start of emergency treatment through the subsequent recovery period. In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) estimated that the average cost of an inpatient hospital stay for someone with a heart condition was $20,758.

What many people do not consider are the non-medical costs associated with a heart attack. Many Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck and the loss of regular income while recovering from a heart attack could create added stress for victims when Heart Disease Financial Help is important.

Let’s take a look at the costs associated with a heart attack and how that could impact a typical household.

In 2015, the AHA said that a person who suffers a heart attack will miss anywhere from two weeks to three months of work, depending on the severity of the attack. The median salary for the head of a household was $46,303 in 2014, according to the Census Bureau, so that means a heart attack sufferer could lose (on average) up to $11,574 dollars in salary, if they miss work for three months.

You may be thinking that is an exaggerated estimate—that an employee’s sick days should cover some of that loss. Unfortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 approximately 40 percent of U.S. workers, or 45 million people, did not receive one single day of sick pay. And, it’s even worse for workers in certain industries. For example, 64 percent of workers in the Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance industries aren’t given any sick leave, according to the BLS.

So, the person who has no sick days who suffered the heart attack is generating no income, is trying to pay their out of pocket medical expenses, and on top of that, their regular bills continue and must be paid. Without accounting for medical expenses, here are just some of the average monthly expenses for a U.S. household in 2013, according to the BLS:

  • Food: $550.17
  • Housing (rent/mortgage): $1,429
  • Utilities (electric, gas, water, garbage, etc.): $311.42
  • Car ownership: $272.58

Of course, there are other expenses like gasoline, school costs, etc., but just looking at the four key expenses above, the average person has to make more than $2,500 a month just to stay on top of the basic living expenses.

Heart Disease Financial Help

As consumers weigh their financial preparedness for a heart attack, they should consider whether disability insurance makes sense for them. Nobody plans on getting sick, hurt, or having a heart attack, but it happens and many people can’t afford to miss work and stay on top of their basic living expenses.   Disability insurance pays workers when they can’t work, due to sickness or injury and are under the care of a doctor. The benefits can be used to help pay living expenses while an individual is out of work, and depending on the program, can provide protection for up to five years.

When researching insurance plans, find out if your insurer offers first-day coverage. This is a crucial part of a good disability policy for the 70% of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, and simply can’t afford to wait for their coverage to begin. Many policies do not provide coverage until an individual is out of work for 30, 60, 90 days or even longer – making it almost impossible to pay monthly bills on time.  And when you’re worried about paying your basic living expenses, it’s stressful, which makes it harder to focus on getting better.

Heart Disease Financial Help

If you are one of the millions of Americans at risk for heart disease, you owe it to yourself to look into disability insurance.  It’s an easy and affordable way to help pay your daily living expenses, and, more importantly, protect the people that matter most—your family.

Jan Martin is Vice President, Product Innovation at Combined Insurance.

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Category: Wellness

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