Healthcare spending jumps after tax refunds, study finds

Many Americans wait until they get their tax refund to pay for medical care, according to a Bloomberg report.

The trend comes amid rising healthcare costs and as more people have high-deductible health plans.

Consumers' total out-of-pocket healthcare spending immediately rose after getting a tax refund, an analysis from research group JPMorgan Chase Institute found.

Consumers' out-of-pocket healthcare spending went up by 60 percent the first week after they received their refunds, and the spending continued for about 75 days afterward, rising 20 percent during that time.

The analysis found that 62 percent of consumers' healthcare spending after receiving a tax refund happened in-person for services they had deferred.

“It was surprising, and I’d go so far as to say alarming,” Fiona Greig, director of consumer research at the JPMorgan Chase Institute, said, according to Bloomberg. “Those are visits that would have taken place three weeks earlier, had the tax refund arrived three weeks earlier.”

Bloomberg also cited other research from the institute that showed that Americans often increase cash withdrawals, credit card payments and spending on durable goods after receiving a tax refund.

Read the full report here.


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