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High Health Care Costs Pushes New Yorkers Into Debt, Alternative Lifestyle Choices

About half of the New Yorkers who were surveyed said an emergency medical bill of $1,000 would put them into debt.

A new survey conducted by health insurance operator MetroPlusHealth showed accessible and affordable healthcare is necessary to ensure the financial resiliency and well-being of New Yorkers. 

Half of the survey respondents cited that they are unable to afford a $1,000 medical emergency without falling into debt. In addition, 58% of the respondents admitted they would direct an unexpected $1,000 windfall toward healthcare expenses, rather than saving or investing in future goals, according to a news release. 

About 40% of those surveyed have had to adjust their lifestyles, such as cutting back on leisure activities and purchases, to manage health care costs, underscoring the trade-offs families make to stay healthy. 

Another 62% of the respondents said they are concerned about health care costs delaying them from achieving significant life milestones such as starting a family, buying a house or retiring.

In addition, 84% of the survey respondents believe that the elimination of health care costs could dramatically change their lives for the better. When asked how respondents would redirect their finances if health care were fully covered: more than half (54%) would prioritize retirement savings, while others dream of travel (38%) and home ownership (24%). 

While 96% of New Yorkers have health insurance, nearly a fifth (19%) report difficulties in covering health care expenses, indicating a significant barrier to financial security and well-being, the organization said through a news release.