If you thought your largest monthly bill is the check you write to the mortgage company, Deloitte’s latest report might lead you to consult your checkbook.
The general rule of thumb for housing costs places rent or mortgage around 30 percent of your monthly income. Car payments, insurance and maintenance come in second. Credit cards and monthly utility bills typically come in third. Healthcare, depending on health conditions and insurance, usually ranks somewhere in the mix below housing costs.
One of the promises of healthcare reform was a reduction in personal healthcare costs. One year in, Deloitte is claiming the promise has not been kept.
A recent report finds hidden healthcare costs are driving up consumer expenditures. The report claims people are spending 14.7 percent more on healthcare than government sources report.
The bump in spending reflects a growing market for unconventional healthcare. Government figures account for the cost of doctor visits, prescriptions, hospital stays and health insurance premiums.
Deloitte’s report adds supplemental expenditures such as alternative medicine, nutritional products, vitamin and mineral supplements, healthcare publications, ambulance services, health promotion programs, mental health services, retirement home costs and weight loss programs.
It all adds up to a big whooping bill that surpasses all other monthly costs, most of which are being footed by seniors. While seniors make up only 13 percent of the population, they account for 36 percent of healthcare expenditures.
“It has been one year since the passage of healthcare reform, and our report sheds new light on the hidden costs of healthcare, and how these costs can add up significantly to billions of dollars and can even eclipse housing as a household expense, ” said Dr. Paul Keckley, executive director of Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “Our study explores the financial context for the decisions consumers, not simply patients, make about how they spend their money on healthcare, which will only increase in importance as healthcare reform continues to take hold.”
As people struggle to make ends meet while the economy stumbles to its feet, gas prices skyrocket and food prices continue to rise. The Deloitte study indicated that while a large percentage of people routinely underestimated their healthcare expenses, they did see a need to reduce it. Of those surveyed, 80 percent indicated a willingness to switch to generic medications, consult their local pharmacist for advice and use technology to save money.