When my husband had his stroke it was very difficult for us emotionally but also financially. Joe was 60 years old at the time, still working and bringing in a good pay check. On August 22, 2009 when he had that stroke those pay checks stopped. The bills did not stop though and on top of the normal bills there were now medical bills as well. I had to cash in 401(k)’s to not lose the house and the cars. I experienced having the electricity turned off a couple times because I could not pay. Then when the insurance company sent Joe to South Florida because they wouldn’t pay for him to stay in a facility closer to home and I had to stay down there with him, then the times really got rough! At that point I was paying for my home and also having to pay for a place to stay in South Florida. I cut out one meal a day to save money.
For a long time I thought this problem was unique to me but after reading an article in StrokeSmart Magazine I found that this is actually quite common. Strokes are devastating to the health of your body but also to your financial health. This affects people of working age the most. The Stroke Association says that the impacts on stroke patients aged 25 to 59 and their families are so severe that one-third of the families have to cut back on food. 65% report a decrease in household income. Of the people who have had strokes, 80% are worried about their financial future.
Someone now has a stroke every 40 seconds equaling almost 800,000 each year. That is a lot of individuals and families going through the trauma of dealing with a stroke, trying to pay bills and to just eat! The National Centers for Disease Control say that the impact of stroke on a family’s financial situation amounts to $54 billion annually.
According to a survey published by Cardiovascular Business, 56% of stroke sufferers and their families report having trouble paying their medical expenses, while 29% say that the medical bills have wiped out most of their savings. Of the 56% having trouble with their medical bills, nearly 48% are also having trouble keeping up with their monthly bills. 30% of the families have amassed thousands of dollars in health care debt and 25% cannot afford basic necessities like food and rent. Out of this group 9% have had to declare bankruptcy.
The report further states that 46% are delaying healthcare treatment, skipping filling prescriptions, and postponing tests or treatments.