Even if you live by the motto to “always be prepared,” there are some things in life that you may not think to plan for—such as stroke. But statistics show that you or someone you love will likely be affected by stroke. In the United States, a stroke happens every 40 seconds.1 And 23% to 29% of people—about 1 in 4—can expect to have a stroke at some point in their lives.2
Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability because more than 80% of people who have a stroke survive.3
The impact of stroke on individuals
Survivors of stroke often face physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. Stroke can cause a range of physical limitations, such as difficulty with speech, vision problems, imbalance, difficulty swallowing, paralysis of one side of the body and more.4
Most stroke patients need rehabilitation therapy, which can help them recover much of their lost physical and cognitive function. Rehabilitation treatment starts as soon as possible after the stroke, with the maximum recovery occurring during the first three to six months post-stroke. 4
The financial impact of stroke
In addition to the physical, emotional and cognitive impact of stroke, patients can also face financial challenges as well. According to the American Heart Association, Americans spend an annual average of $45.5 billion on direct and indirect costs of stroke. Of this amount, Americans spend $7.9 billion on hospital inpatient stays for stroke, $2.4 billion on hospital outpatient or office-based provider visits for stroke, and $8.2 billion for home health care for stroke. In addition, stroke costs Americans $17.5 billion each year in lost wages.5
Stroke patients may face high medical costs, including:
- Deductibles, or the amount they need to pay for covered health care services before their health insurance starts paying benefits.
- Copays, which are fixed amounts paid for covered health care services after the deductible is met.
- Surprise billing, which is a medical billing practice that occurs when someone goes to an in-network hospital, but receives treatment from an out-of-network doctor, surgeon or specialist.
- Diagnosis and treatment expenses, plus costs associated with rehabilitation.
According to the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, the average cost of hospital stay for a stroke patient ranges from $20,396 to $43,652.6 And while the medical bills add up, stroke patients often lose their income from employment.
“Always be prepared”—critical illness insurance
Circling back to the idea of “always being prepared,” you can help yourself be ready for the possible financial impact of a stroke by purchasing critical illness insurance. This type of supplemental health insurance provides cash benefits that can help protect you from the unexpected costs of a critical illness, including stroke.
Critical illness insurance pays in addition to your primary medical insurance. But unlike your primary medical insurance, your benefits are paid directly to you, and there are NO RESTRICTIONS on how you use them. This means you can use your benefits to help cover your deductibles, co-pays, non-covered treatments, bills and household expenses, and more.
Watch to learn more about critical illness insurance:
How to prevent stroke
Even if you have the peace of mind of critical illness insurance, you should still take steps to alleviate your risk for stroke. While you can’t control your family history or age, there are still ways you can help reduce your risk. According to Harvard Medical School, there are seven things you can do to help reduce your risk for stroke:7
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Lose weight.
- Exercise more.
- If you drink, do it in moderation.
- Treat atrial fibrillation.
- Treat diabetes.
- Quit smoking.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and work together to develop a wellness plan to help you improve or maintain your health.
Discover how Washington National can work for you!
Interested in learning more about how critical illness insurance can help protect you from the financial impact of stroke? One of our agents is happy to help! Contact us here to get paired with a local Washington National agent.
1American Heat Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 At-a-Glance, 2019, p. 2.
2WebMD, 1 in 4 People Over 25 Will Be Hit by Stroke, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20181220/1-in-4-people-over-25-will-be-hit-by-stroke#1.
3UCI Health, There is life after stroke, https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2019/05/life-after-stroke, May 2019.
4UCI Health, There is life after stroke, https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2019/05/life-after-stroke, 2019.
5American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update, 2019, p. e517.
6Disability Benefits Help, Stroke and Social Security Disability, https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/stroke-and-social-security-disability, 2018.7Harvard Medical School, 7 things you can do to prevent a stroke, https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/8-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke, 2018
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