Regions Next Step’s financial wellness program offers no-cost tools to help people navigating medical financial hardship.
Submitted by Regions Bank
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., December 12, 2022 /CSRwire/ - Regions Bank announced the results of a new medical financial hardship survey that finds people are not financially prepared to cover medical expenses or pay off medical debt, despite perhaps thinking they are prepared.
The survey was conducted by Regions Next Step, the bank’s no-cost financial education program that serves people of all ages, regardless of whether they bank with Regions. According to the survey, six in 10 (59%) people are confident they could cover regular and expected medical costs like co-pays and deductibles. Nearly the same number (56%) feel similarly about unexpected medical costs like out-of-network charges and prescriptions.
Despite this, the survey finds many people are not able to cover medical bills when they are due. Two in five people have experienced an unexpected medical event in the last year and, among those, seven in 10 found it difficult to pay for it. Younger respondents were among the most likely to have trouble paying.
Additionally, more than one in three people (35%) have medical debt, and an overwhelming majority (82%) are struggling to resolve it. Among those with medical debt, seven in 10 respondents had debt that is either overdue or in collections. Women and those with household incomes lower than $100,000 were most likely to carry this debt, according to the survey.
Further, medical expenses and debt are taking a toll on peoples’ savings. Due to the cost of medical bills in the last year, nearly one-quarter of Americans has either used all their savings to cover the expenses or has been contacted by a collection agency due to medical bills.
Results also show there are knowledge gaps when it comes to options for tackling medical debt. Approximately half of respondents (54%) do not know how to obtain debt relief for medical bills, use a health savings account or flexible spending account to cover costs (49%) or negotiate a medical bill (48%).
“Medical events can be traumatic and unpredictable – and the resulting debt can add greater stress to the healing process. Being prepared beforehand and knowing how to address medical debt can make a significant difference to staying on track with your finances,” said Joye Hehn, Next Step financial education manager for Regions Bank. “Regions is committed to providing resources and information that can help families manage health care-related expenses and keep their financial goals within reach during a medical hardship.”
Additional key findings of the survey include:
Regions Bank is highlighting free resources that are available year-round to help people prepare and stay in control of their finances when medical costs arise. This includes a series of medical financial hardship courses available in the expanded Next Step library of resources. These courses provide tips for negotiating medical bills, preventing bankruptcy, managing out-of-pocket health care costs and obtaining debt relief.
“During the pandemic, many Americans found themselves without work or insurance coverage, putting a strain on their ability to pay off old medical debt or manage new expenses. Even as the pandemic eases, many still struggle with this debt,” said Wendi Boyen, community advocacy and financial wellness manager for Regions Bank. “At Regions, our commitment is to provide resources and financial education people need to successfully manage whatever comes their way. I’m proud of the work the team at Regions has done to raise awareness and provide valuable resources to address this critical issue impacting our communities.”
Regions Next Step also recommends the following tips:
For more, visit www.Regions.com/NextStepMedicalHardship, or visit any Regions branch to speak with an associate.
The Regions Next Step omnibus survey questions were part of a national online survey that took place between Aug. 17, 2022 – Aug. 29, 2022. The survey reached 1,606 U.S. adults. The results are weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (18+).
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $158 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,300 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
About Regions Next Step®
Regions Next Step is the financial education program from Regions Bank, offering a free collection of action-oriented tips, tools and resources. Next Step is designed to simplify financial topics, help people of all ages and business of varying sizes stay on track and meet financial goals. Resources are available online, in-person, virtually, and in English and Spanish. In 2021, Next Step provided financial education to more than 1.4 million people across the company’s footprint, delivered approximately 124,000 financial wellness workshops, received 2.4 million financial education content page views and associates completed 7,000 financial education volunteer hours. Additional information and resources are available at Regions.com/NextStep.
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $147 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas , and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
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