On this blog, we've discussed how medical debt is a leading concern for typical Americans, but one segment of the population that is hit hardest by the rising cost of health care is senior citizens. When seniors retire, they're left with a finite amount of financial resources that must see them through the end of their lives, and frequently those years require the highest levels of medical attention and treatment. While social security and Medicare provide relief for senior facing rising prices, affording treatment still stands as a major obstacle to financial solvency for older people.
Thirty-three percent of seniors said their greatest fear in retirement was the compounding cost of medical care, higher than the 23 percent of all respondents who said they were most worried their savings would run out. These figures came from a study by BankRate, which also found that 11 percent of people were most worried about their outstanding debt.
A study by Fidelity found that the average couple would need about $220,000 for medical expenses in order to retire.
"I think people are lucky to have that much saved for retirement, period. They could see their entire nest egg go into a debilitating illness or injury if that happens," says Sheyna Steiner of BankRate. "People over 65 were twice as likely as people 18 to 29 to say that medical expenses were their biggest fear."
The troubling results illustrate how unprepared many seniors feel to take on inevitable medical debt as they get older. For health care administrators, those conditions can make collecting on existing debts even more challenging. When care facilities outsource receivables management, they're better able to focus on the most important cases.