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How to Mitigate the Top 5 Unexpected Medical Expenses

Unexpected medical expenses are the number one reason people file for bankruptcy in the United States. And, contrary to popular belief -- among those who haven't dealt with a major medical bill, that is -- people with health insurance made up 72 percent of those health care-related bankruptcies.

To help demystify the situation, we'll take a closer look at the top 5 unexpected medical expenses Americans face:

  1. Heart conditions account for 193.4 billion dollars in health care expenses, which likely comes as no surprise; 1 in 3 Americans suffers from some form of heart disease. Thankfully, preventative strategies are numerous and effective, even for those with ongoing heart health issues. Simple dietary changes like consuming more vegetables and less sodium help balance blood pressure. Two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week -- just around twenty minutes a day! -- is all you need to meet the physician-recommended amount to maintain a healthy heart.
  2. Cancer in its various forms afflicts about 13.5 million Americans, leading to 157 billion dollars spent on ongoing care. Similar to heart disease, managing your diet is key, as is regular exercise. Make sure to wear sunscreen whenever possible. Most importantly, ask your doctor about early screening tests. The earlier you receive a diagnosis, the better for your health and your finances.
  3. Unexpected injury, primarily stemming from automobile collisions, represent 136 billion dollars in care. As any driving instructor will repeatedly remind you, the preferred term is "collision" instead of "accident" because the vast majority of road injuries are preventable. Stay off your phone, certainly away from texting. Don't drink and drive. Don't tailgate. Practice defensive driving at all times, rather than expecting other drivers to follow the rules. The more you mitigate dangerous circumstances, the less likely you are to receive an injury with an unexpected bill to match.
  4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is an umbrella term covering all progressive lung diseases, adds up to 79.6 billion dollars in expenses for Americans. The primary preventative care measure for most people is simple: Don't smoke! Even as smoking declines, the bulk of COPD patients are still smokers over 40. Another common cause is exposure to workplace irritants, so always follow safety guidelines on the job. And finally, some forms of COPD are genetic. Let your doctor know if you have any known family history, and follow all recommendations for ongoing care.
  5. Mental illness is a common cause for seeking medical care, with 1 in 4 adult Americans collectively spending 57.5 billion dollars to receive some level of treatment. The best way to avoid a major unexpected bill? Seek treatment early. Consider that 1 in 4 figure; suffering from mental health issues is anything but rare. If you don't know where to start, your general practitioner can point you in the right direction, as well as non-profit organizations like Mental Health America

These five causes are but a few of the unexpected medial expenses that have the potential to suddenly disrupt your life, not least financially. The tips here are a simple starting point, not a replacement for the advice of a medical professional, so make sure to consult a physician to ensure the best results.

Of course, no one expects a sudden malady or an ongoing health issue to emerge. Even the most seemingly careful, healthy and insured people could very well end up facing the kinds of medical bills that put them on the path of joining the hundreds of thousands of Americans filing for bankruptcy each year.

Employees with access to MedPut can to leverage loans for medical bills, paid off in small amounts directly through payroll. Savings stay in order. Your medical bills go from massive to manageable. And in most cases, you save money overall. by combining preventative, healthy habits, regular screenings, and minimizing the immediate impact of health care bills, you can avoid the major pitfalls of unexpected health costs and move on with your life.