Fear of Medical Debt Makes Young Adults Pass Up on Healthcare

Many young adults are not seeking the medical care they need. When they hear the costs involved for a specific treatment, they stop listening and usually forgo the process due to fear of medical debt. 

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

According to a Common Wealth Fund survey, the cost of medical treatment discourages a large percentage of adults between the ages of 19-29 from seeking medical care within a 12-month period. It is common for this age group to not keep up with routine screenings and tests, prescription refills or doctor visits. For young adults that do seek medical attention, the survey indicates 36 percent of them in the same age group “reported problems paying medical bills or said they were paying off debt over time.” It is suggested that someone in their twenties doesn’t expect to get a serious illness, so it isn’t something they prepare themselves to pay for at that age. When an issue arises, then they are responsible for a high medical billso they avoid seeking the necessary treatment at the thought of becoming consumed by debt. A recent provision in the Affordable Care Act allows young adults up to the age of 26 years to receive health coverage on their parents’ healthcare plan. However, while this affords many young adults the access to healthcare, only close to half of this demographic takes advantage of this extended coverage. In 2014, the provision will be up for review to see if this law will remain in effect. There is a strong possibility it could be voted down by the naysayers, causing young adults to fall further to the wayside of medical care. 

What’s the Big Idea? 

The rising cost in healthcare is discouraging for young adults to take part in regular medical maintenance; furthermore, necessary medical treatment is not a priority because of medical debt. Forty-three percent of the young adults who have went through with medical treatment reported that they drained their savings to cover the costs; 33 percent transferred the debt over to credit cards; and 32 percent put off repayment of other pressing financial commitments to take care of their medical fees, while others reported difficulties paying rent and buying food.  

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less