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Financial Complications of Stroke

A stroke can have a crippling effect not only on the human body, but also on a survivor's financial stability.

Matthew Colella Feb 04, 2013

If you’re reading this issue of StrokeSmart, chances are you know stroke is serious business. A stroke can have a crippling effect not only on the human body, but also on a survivor’s financial stability.

A recent survey conducted by the UK-based charity organization Stroke Association (SA) says people of “working age” experience the most dire financial complications when dealing with the aftermath of a stroke. The problem is two-fold, the group says, as working households endure significant income declines coupled with increased financial obligations.

SA says the economic impact on survivors aged 25 to 59 is so severe that roughly one-third have to “cut back” on food because their resources are so scarce, and 65 percent report a serious decrease in household income. Further, the group says, nearly 80 percent of people affected by stroke are worried about their financial future.

Here in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, totaling nearly 800,000 every year. Recent estimates from the public health agency peg the domestic economic impact of stroke at $54 billion annually.

According to Cardiovascular Business, a recent market survey found that of all the adults in the U.S. with cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes both stroke and heart problems, 56 percent report difficulties paying their medical expenses, while 29 percent say those medical costs wiped out “most” of their savings. Of the 56 percent who reported trouble paying their medical bills, nearly half (48 percent) say they’re having difficulty keeping up with monthly expenditures, 30 percent have amassed thousands of dollars in healthcare-related debt, 25 percent can’t afford basic necessities such as food or rent, and 9 percent declared bankruptcy.

Further still, the report says, 46 percent of CVD patients having problems with their financial burdens admit to delaying healthcare treatment, 43 percent skip on filling prescriptions, 42 percent delay doctor appointments and 28 percent postpone recommended tests or treatments.

Serious business, indeed. •

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