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Real Cost Of Health Care

Brawley, California (NAPSI) - Recent health care changes may offer more Americans access  to major medical coverage, but consumers should be aware of the effect that  out-of-pocket health care costs will continue to have on their bank accounts. 

Consumers may find themselves financially unprepared for an unexpected  illness or injury if they do not understand all aspects of the cost of  medical care.

The U.S.  government predicts that household out-of-pocket health care expenses will  reach an average of $3,301 per year by 2014; yet, the 2013 Aflac WorkForces  Report (AWR) finds that only 23 percent of workers are saving more money in  anticipation of medical expense increases.

Due to rising health care costs, employers are likely to shift more of the  share to their employees—which can mean higher copayments, deductibles  and premiums-to try to limit company spending on health benefits.

“Major medical insurance was never designed to cover everything,”   said Manisha Thakor, personal finance expert. “Benefits packages don’t  cover copays, co-insurance or necessary medical supplies, among other things,  and the true cost of accidents and illnesses can be staggering.”

There are also expenses that continue—like rent or a car payment—when  people have an illness or injury that prevents them from working. This could  mean costs higher than people anticipate.

Consumers can prepare themselves for the unexpected by following this  simple, four-step plan:

1. Take advantage of  employer-sponsored wellness programs. Not only will consumers feel better  as a result of taking proactive steps to improve health and wellness, but  participating could lower insurance rates, depending on insurance plans.

2. Go to preventative care checkups  once or twice yearly. Taking action to offset potential problems down the  road helps minimize the chance of illness or poor health escalating into a  costly condition.

3. Increase your savings rate.  According to the AWR, most people aren’t saving enough. Nearly half (46  percent) of American workers have less than $1,000 in savings, which may not  cover costs associated with serious illnesses or accidents. Now more than  ever, it’s important to prepare for out-of-pocket health care expenses.  

4. Talk to HR to understand medical  insurance coverage. Consumers can stay involved in benefits decisions by  educating themselves on what’s available. They should turn to HR  representatives for clarity if they are uncertain about insurance offerings  and also consider voluntary insurance to fill gaps in coverage.

To see additional study results, or to learn more about the real cost of  illness or injury, consumers can visit  and