Would you skip a doctor’s appointment to save money? Use a gofundme.com account to finance emergency health-care expenses?

Nearly 48% of Americans age 25-45 said they have skipped health care to avoid the expense, according to Nationwide Retirement Institute’s new “Wealth and Health Consumer Survey.” That is just one of many startling findings regarding the sad state of younger Americans’ health and financial preparedness.

“Many younger adults are making choices now – delaying medical care, not seeking care and stopping prescription plans early – that are powerful when you think of the connectivity between health-care spending today to health tomorrow and overall retirement savings,” Cindy Hoes, director of strategy and programs at Nationwide, said at the 15TH Annual WISER Symposium today in Washington, D.C.  WISER is the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

Some 20% of Americans said health-care expenses have had an extreme impact on their well-being, making it far more likely for them to skip care.

As troubling, health-care expenses have stopped Americans from saving (43%), caused them to miss paying bills (35%) and go into debt (38%). 

Some 31% of Americans said medical expenses made it harder to contribute “as much as I would like to a 401(k) or retirement account,” Nationwide found.

“We saw short-term financial considerations like health-care costs are stopping Americans from taking action for the future, like savings for retirement planning,” Hoes said.

Lack of emergency savings is also troubling from both a health and financial preparedness perspective, Hoes said. More than one in four people in the survey said they don’t have the means to cover a $7,500 health-care expense.

The survey’s results further underscored gender differences regarding sources of income to cover a health-care event.

Men are more confident they can cover the expense using credit cards, loans, friends/family, investment accounts or a fundraiser like a gofundme.com account.

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