AARP keeps telling us this fact, and I keep reminding my clients to pay attention: The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world. AARP’s 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 studies all point to just how expensive it can be to have healthcare in our country. What’s more frightening is that medical costs continue to rise each year. Dramatically.
Here are the facts according to reports from both AARP and the American Heart Association:
- Americans spend an average of $8,200 per person on general health care every year (For comparison, Canadians spend just $4,400 annually).
- A typical hospital stay costs an average of $236 per day in India, $655 per day in France and a whopping $3,949 per day in the U.S. (2011 Comparative Price Report Medical and Hospital Fees released by the International Federation of Health Plans.)
- The first day of hospital admission averages $1,246, while the cost of discharging a patient averaged $304.
- An average hospital stay in the U.S. is about $18,000. In the Netherlands and Japan, the 2nd and 3rd most expensive, comparable costs are $4,000 to $6,000 less.
- U.S. average hospital charge for coronary artery bypass was $122,743 in 2010.
- Average U.S. cost of hospitalization for a stroke was $87,600 in the same year.
These prices are averages, and don’t reflect costs paid by health insurance. These prices also only reflect hospital costs. Add your surgeon’s bill, your anesthetist, medications, plus quite often, rehabilitation and home health care, and frequently, nursing home care. Even Medicare or a good general supplemental health plan will only pick up 80% of these costs. (That still leaves a substantial amount on the table to be picked up by YOU!)
Don’t let a health crisis deal a critical blow to your finances. Be ready. Advance care planning is a conversation you need to have with a health insurance professional BEFORE anything happens!