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Guardian Survey: Men are Twice as Likely as Women to Use Credit Cards to Pay for Major Health Expenses
Date:9/10/2008

Young Consumers Expect a Financial Bail-out from Family Members to Pay for

Medical Bills 30% of Consumers Receiving Care for a Critical Illness Have Not Recovered

Financially

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Men are more likely than women to use credit cards to pay for major medical recovery expenses and both sexes largely agree that a critical illness would pose a financial hardship, according to a recent survey from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian). The study, Benefits & Behavior -- Spotlight on Group Critical Illness, also revealed a significant generational gap with regard to expectations that family and friends will provide loans to pay for medical debt.

The New Health Hazard -- Credit Card Debt

-- One in five Americans who have had direct experience with a critical illness used a credit card to finance recovery related expenses.

-- Men are twice as likely as women to have done so. 30% of men charged critical illness recovery expenses versus 14% of women.

-- One-third of consumers using a credit card charged more than $5,000.

-- A third of consumers receiving care for critical illness have not yet returned to financial normalcy.

"Far too many consumers are relying on high interest rate credit cards to pay for their medical recovery and indirect costs," said Jim Pogue, senior vice president, Group Benefits, Guardian. "If you only make minimum payments, $5,000 on your card today can quickly escalate into thousands of dollars in interest."

70% of consumers feel that their families would sustain financial hardship or stress if they were to suffer a critical illness, with nearly a third saying it would be a substantial hardship or burden.

"Census data shows that the median U.S. household income is $48,200 and we continue to have a low to negative national savings rate," added Pogue. "At a time when families
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SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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