The Link Between Wellness & Wealth Is Powerful for Everyone – and Especially Women

In the U.S., the link between wellness and wealth, money and health, is strong and common across people, young and old. But the impacts of money on health, well-being, and life choices varies across the ages, based on a study from Lively, a company that builds platforms for health savings accounts.

The first chart illustrates that health care costs challenge people in many ways: the most obvious health care cost problems prevent people from saving more for retirement or paying down debt.

Eight in 10 Americans concur that rising health care costs challenge their ability to save for retirement.

Beyond the hit on retirement saving, note that young people under 35 are particularly hard-hit across the board, and particularly for significant life choices, milestones and objectives — like buy a home, planning a wedding or attending one, and having a baby.

Gen Z is “caught in the middle,” Lively observed. “Young adults can’t save for now or later,” the report noted, and are most likely to postpone going to the doctor waiting to see a physician only when trauma or catastrophe occur. And Gen Z health care consumers self-ration the most often, with 2 in 3 Gen Zers avoiding a doctor’s recommendation due to cost.

Beyond expected health care costs, like premiums and copayments that come with taking care of chronic conditions through planned doctor visits and prescription drugs to manage already-diagnosed diseases, 1 in 2 consumers say they aren’t prepared to cover the cost of an unexpected injury, care for a sick child, or for a sick or aging parent.

Women, more of whom tend to be caregivers of sick children or aging parents, are less likely to be able to cover health care costs for their loved ones. As a result, women are able to spend less time and money or hobbies or leisure activities compared with men. And across all U.S. adults, one in four couldn’t go on a vacation due to health care costs.

For this research, Lively conducted a survey among 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and over in June 2019.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The 2019 Stress in America survey published this week from the American Psychological Association found that 7 in 10 Americans find that the issues of mass shootings and health care are significant sources of stress.

Guns and health care…equivalently stressing out Americans in 2019…and both top ranking issues in U.S. voters’ minds exactly one-year prior to the 2020 Presidential election.

“More than half of U.S. adults (56%) identify the 2020 Presidential election as a significant stressor,” up from 52% in the 2016 election.

The APA polled 3,617 via The Harris Poll in August and September 2019 for this research.

The top issue stressing out people stressed by health care is costs, especially acute among people who have private insurance (say, through employers or purchased on exchanges on their own) versus insureds covered by public plans (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid). People of color are also more stressed about U.S. health care than whites, and over one-half of Americans are worried they would not be able to pay for health care services they’ll need in the future, APA found.

The Lively and APA data together reinforce a picture of U.S. health consumers stressed about guns and health care — which sounds something like a Warren Zevon tune. Instead of his original title, “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” we can re-write as “Healthcare, Guns and Money” reflecting the stressed and fiscally challenged American health citizen. Many of these stanzas would resonate with the health consumer as we sing along with Zevon’s lyrics….

I went home with a waitress the way I always do
How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?
I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns, and money
Dad, get me out of this!

I’m an innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck between a rock and a hard place
And I’m down on my luck

I’m hiding in Honduras, I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns, and money
The shit has hit the fan
Send lawyers, guns, and money…

As art continues to reflect life and vice versa…