1 in 6 families face a $2,000 medical bill in a given month

In any given month, 1 in 6 American families pays an extraordinary medical bill of about $2,000, according to a policy brief published by Health Affairs.

For the brief, researchers examined transaction data from JPMorgan to gain insight into how short-term changes in household cash flow affect consumers' healthcare payments.

Researchers found consumers immediately increase their healthcare use after experiencing a large increase in available cash. For example, consumers' healthcare spending increases by 60 percent in the week after receiving a tax refund.

"This finding suggests that consumers make health decisions — some of which have long-term consequences — based on short-term financial factors," according to the brief. "Far from affecting only low-income people, immediate cash shortages cause people at all income levels to delay care."

For the full Health Affairs brief, click here.

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