The burden of medical debt is real. 

It was recently reported that US citizens collectively owe about $195 million in unpaid healthcare bills. According to a new report, a group that’s especially affected by this is US Black millennials. 

The Nationwide Retirement Institute® reported that nearly one in five Black millennials (19%) report that paying for health care is their biggest retirement stressor. 

The findings showed that Black millennials are carrying substantially more medical debt compared to other generations. Of those respondents who could estimate their medical debt, Black millennials self-reported they have on average $11,469 in medical debt. That’s four times higher than Black Gen Xers ($2,818) and ten times more than Black baby boomers ($1,111).

“While each person’s path to financial wellness and wealth will be unique, our latest data clearly demonstrates that young Black Americans collectively face a challenge to success posed by the cost of health care,” said Kristi Rodriguez, senior vice president of Nationwide Retirement Institute® in a news release. “For financial professionals, it’s now imperative that you understand the impact of health care costs on a long-term financial plan and know which solutions to put into place to ensure client success and confidence.” 

Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by chronic conditions that drive up their health care costs, and that has only escalated as a result of the pandemic according to the Centers for Disease Control. They also reported that Black millennials say they have spent on average $6,145 on health care costs and personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. That’s ten times more than Black Gen Xers ($613) and way more than Black baby boomers ($269).

Additionally, one in five Black millennials (21%) do not have health insurance and those that do are twice as likely to be self-employed and without access to a group plan.

“Black millennials are right to worry about health care costs in retirement – especially if they have a chronic condition,” Rodriguez said in a news release. “By incorporating health care into financial planning conversations, financial professionals can help clients create a more secure and comfortable financial future.”

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