Most middle-income Americans are financially unprepared to face a serious illness, according to Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions.
Only 10 percent of those surveyed felt financially prepared for a family emergency or a serious illness such as cancer, heart disease, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, according to the institute, which is Washington National Insurance Company’s research and consumer education program.
The report, Middle-Income America’s Perspectives on Critical Illness and Financial Security, was based on a survey of 1,001 U.S. citizens, between the ages of 30 to 66 with annual household incomes of $35,000 to $99,999.
Ninety percent say they do not have the resources to pay for a serious illness. Most say they would have to draw on savings to pay costs not covered by insurance, but most have little savings.
The survey showed 75 percent have less than $20,000 in savings; half have less than $2,000; and one quarter have no savings. Respondents said they would have to turn to credit cards (28 percent), loans from family or friends (23 percent) or loans from financial institutions (19 percent). Another 23 percent said they do not know what they would do if faced with a serious illness.
A significant number of Americans believe they would never get over the financial implications of a serious illness. For instance, 38 percent believe they might never recover from a battle with cancer and 45 percent believe they would never recover financially from an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.
Despite these problems, 88 percent of middle Americans have not talked with loved ones or advisors about potential care-giving options and 60 percent have not discussed financial planning for critical illness.