Millions of seniors rely on Medicare to cover their healthcare needs in retirement, and while the program is designed to make medical care more affordable, it's still a huge burden for those limited to a fixed income. In fact, healthcare costs the average retiree $499 a month, and when you consider the various deductibles , co-pays, and premiums associated with Medicare, that number makes sense.
Unfortunately, the stress of costly medical care can lead many seniors to make poor decisions about their health, thereby compromising not only their physical well-being but their finances as well. In fact, 19% of Medicare enrollees avoid or delay procedures due to the cost involved, according to new data from HealthMarkets . But that's a mistake that could come back to haunt them in a very big way.
The problem with putting off healthcare needs
From a medical standpoint, ignoring a health issue, or delaying treatment for it, can easily result in a dangerous situation. Imagine you have a cough you can't shake, only you don't want to fork over an expensive co-pay for a doctor visit or chest X-ray. Well, what happens when that cough evolves into full-blown pneumonia? Suddenly you're dealing with a very serious medical issue, and all because you didn't address the problem earlier on.
Delaying treatment for health issues can hurt you financially as well. Think about the cost of an office visit co-pay and compare it to that of an extended hospital stay (which, in the pneumonia scenario, you're probably looking at if you're older). Chances are, you'll wind up spending well more if you allow the problem to escalate.
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