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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

How Covid and Rising Medical Bills Will Threaten Americans’ Holiday Spending

Check out these ways you can avoid surprises from medical bills related to unexpected life and healthcare events. Sponsored by Aflac

Despite economic struggles as a result of the pandemic, the National Retail Federation is forecasting that Americans will spend just under $1,000 this holiday season. However a new study from Aflac reveals that the pandemic may be putting the brakes on holiday cheer and spending.

The 2020 Aflac Health Care Issues Survey looked at how medical costs over the last two years have affected Americans during the season, as well as the rate of hospital visits and regrets related to health care coverage decisions. The results reveal that health care costs are hitting American families hard. Aflac’s Stephanie Shields joins our Laura Cavanaugh to share the survey’s surprising findings.

“During this season of giving, it is a season of cutting back for some people,” said Shields, “It comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, maybe fewer gifts under the Christmas tree or staying home for the holidays and forgoing those trips to be with family and friends. For example, our survey told us for those who had a trip to the hospital in the past year, over half spent more than a thousand dollars or more in out-of-pocket expenses.”

Nearly three out of four families said they had to make some sort of sacrifice or hard decisions during the holiday season because of medical cost concerns.  Given those high medical costs, more than one-third of families expressed regret about their health care coverage. That came in the form of wishing they had richer benefits plans or being surprised by high co-pays, deductibles or out-of-network costs.

Shields says what stood out is that consumers need to continue to invest in understanding benefit decisions and to plan for the unexpected.  Health insurance, coupled with supplemental insurance, helps create the safety net to help consumers. It provides an extra layer of protection against life stage events.

For more information on supplemental insurance, visit  www.aflac.com

Sponsored by:  Aflac