Many millennials are finding themselves coping with chronic health conditions — more so than previous generations.
About 44% of older millennials born between 1981 and 1988 report having been diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC Make It.
Health conditions can take a toll, both financially and emotionally. The seemingly relentless and compounding medical expenses can last years. With rising health insurance costs, even essential treatments can affect your credit score.
When you’re living with a chronic disease or disability, the medical bills, pharmaceutical costs and doctor’s office invoices continue to pile up, often beyond what is able to managed long-term. This recent report from Moody’s Analytics reviewed data from Blue Cross Blue Shield Health showed that beyond out-of-pocket spending, millennials with a chronic health condition also can see their annual income reduced by as much as $4,500 per person due to medical expenses and even reduced work hours or job loss because of poor health.
Below are some financial options you can consider while dealing with a chronic health issue or disability.
This might seem simple, but it’s an essential first step to balancing personal medical expenses. As you work to live with your chronic illness, creating, managing and sticking to a realistic budget is critical to your physical and financial health. Monitor your spending habits and look to cut out extraneous costs wherever you can, such as reconsidering that $4 cup of coffee every morning. Brainstorm with family members, roommates and loved ones to figure out where you can lower unnecessary expenses.
Debt Consolidation Loan
If you’ve accrued debt from multiple credit lines and lenders, consider a debt consolidation loan. These loans can allow you to pay off several loans in one lump sum, and often offer a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments or both.
Debt Settlement and Negotiation
If your past-due expenses have already been sent to a collection’s agency, and you’re unable to apply for a feasible consolidation loan, work with the collection’s agency or debt settlement company to see where you can get possible exemptions or more flexible terms. With such high medical costs, your care provider or financial intermediaries are usually more empathetic than you may think. Always thoroughly review your medical bills to check for upcharges or mistakes, keep an open line of communication to ask questions and get cost clarifications and be persistent to work out a practical payment plan. If possible, work through negotiations with professional guidance.