According to a new study, the “luxury lifestyle” label is best suited to those who have the most expensive medical bills.
Dr. Paul DeYoung, chief medical officer at the American Academy of Pediatrics, says a new report published Monday by the American Medical Association found the wealthy are the most likely to suffer from chronic medical problems that make it difficult for them to get proper care.
The AAMC released the study which surveyed more than 500,000 physicians and health care professionals in the U.S. and found that among the top 10% of Americans, the top five categories of financial distress were: chronic health conditions, mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
“People who have been in the middle class for a long time are the least likely to get care in those five categories,” DeYoung said.
He says the research indicates that the wealthy tend to be those who are spending their money on health care and they often rely on their medical professionals to help them get the care they need.
“There are certainly people who are very wealthy who have a chronic medical condition and they’re very willing to spend a lot of money on their health care,” he said.
DeYoung says the wealthy also tend to have higher incomes and the “wealthy” are also more likely to use their health insurance to cover their medical expenses.
“So, it’s not that the rich are necessarily more likely than the middle-class, but rather, the wealthy, by virtue of their higher incomes, are more likely for chronic health care to go unpaid,” he explained.
The study also found that, compared to the middle and working class, the wealthiest were more likely of those with medical expenses who used their health coverage for less than one month.
“The poor are not only spending more than the rich but also spending less than the poor, so they’re spending their own money,” DeWhite said.
“What this study really demonstrates is that it’s the poor who are the ones who are going to be more vulnerable.”
According to DeYoung’s research, a typical yearlong stay in a hospital costs an average of $11,917.
The median annual household income for a middle-income family in 2016 was $53,929.
For a middle class family, the average annual spending for a year in a medical facility was $1,856.