As the cost of goods and services goes higher and higher, consumers on tight budgets are looking for places to cut back. However, for many, trying to trim health care expenses isn’t an option. Their health — and possibly their lives — depend on continuing such care. As a result, they must look elsewhere, says Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “4 Sacrifices Older Americans Are Making to Afford Health Care.”
More than one-third of adults 50+ say they’ve skipped basics, such as food, just so they could pay for health care, according to a new survey of more than 6,600 U.S. adults from Gallup and West Health. Two-thirds of the older Americans surveyed also said health care costs are at least a minor burden. Let’s look at where people are pulling their purse strings. Here are the responses the survey respondents gave most often.
- Utilities. Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care included 8% of those ages 50-64 and 6% of those ages 65 and older. It is hard to cut back on utilities. We need to keep the lights on. It is also necessary to heat or cool our homes when the weather demands it. However, some Americans have been forced to trim this bill in the past year. Among those ages 50-64, Black Americans were more than twice as likely as white Americans — 15% to 7% — to make this sacrifice.
- Food. Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care included 14% of those ages 50-64 and 9% of those ages 65 and older. Some older Americans have no choice but to skimp on this essential to pay for health care.
- Over-the-counter drugs. Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care included 15% of those ages 50-64 and 13% of those ages 65 and older. When times are tough and you must make difficult decisions, the OTC medications usually go first. Women were more likely than men to cut back here, with 15% of those age 65 or older saying they decreased their spending on it in the past 12 months compared with 10% of similarly aged men. That is consistent with the rest of the survey, which generally found women making sacrifices more often than men.
- Clothing. Those whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care included 26% of those ages 50-64 and 19% of those ages 65 and older. This is the area where seniors cut back the most, and it’s no surprise why. Of all the things on this list, clothing is probably the least essential. Many go far beyond the basics simply for the pleasure of dressing stylishly. Those who keep things simple with a basic wardrobe can save a lot of money.
Reference: Money Talks News (June 22, 2022) “4 Sacrifices Older Americans Are Making to Afford Health Care”
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