Patients consistently delay healthcare spending until they have more liquid assets at their disposal, according to a J.P. Morgan Institute report, Paying Out-of-Pocket: The Healthcare Spending of 2 Million US Families . Healthcare payments noticeably spike in March and April, when the majority of American households receive tax refunds.
“The reality is that many American families don’t have the cash buffer to withstand the volatility created by out-of-pocket healthcare payments, and we need to better understand the correlation between financial health and physical health,” said Diana Farrell, president and CEO, JPMorgan Chase Institute.
The report also found a dramatic variation in household out-of-pocket healthcare spending between and within the 23 states studied. Average out-of-pocket spending in 2016 was highest in Colorado ($916) and lowest in California ($596). Large variation also occurred within states. For example, in some states, there was a more than two-fold difference between the highest-spend and lowest-spend counties.