Lifetime health care spending for US policyholders could top $700,000, new Synchrony research finds

Synchrony’s “Lifetime of Healthcare Costs” Study Shows Insured Respondents Annual cost of care underestimated by 145%

Americans delay medical procedures because of cost, study finds

STAMFORD, Conn., November 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — An American insured with an employer-sponsored health insurance plan can expect to spend more than $320,000 (including insurance premiums and out-of-pocket payments) over their adult life, according to new consumer research from Synchrony (NYSE: SYF), a leading consumer financial services company. This number can be more than double – leading $700,000 — for Americans who purchase their own insurance (without employer or government subsidies) or for those who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.

Moreover, the Synchronized Lifetime Health Costs A study suggests that many people significantly underestimate their annual healthcare expenses and fail to save for future healthcare costs, leading many to delay recommended medical procedures, often to the detriment of their health. For example, while respondents estimated their annual health care expenses to be around $850 (excluding premiums paid) on average, actual expenses [1] averages around $2,100 annually — 145%, almost one and a half times more than the planned cost.

“Consumers today are saving money for college or a mortgage, but not for health care. As a leader in patient financing, we believe it’s important to raise awareness among consumers about the cost of health care throughout their lifetime, so that they think about and prepare for how to save and pay for their current and future health care needs,” said Alberto Casellas, Managing Director, Health and Wellness, Synchrony. “The study shows that there is a significant gap between people’s perception and the reality of healthcare costs. As consumers increasingly take responsibility for their healthcare spending, it is important to understand the cost of care and to find responsible financial solutions that can help them save and manage these costs.”

Feel the financial pressure
The $320,000 average, based on a subset of nearly 3,200 survey respondents included in the study [2]breaks down as follows: respondents hired on average $5,266 annual individual health expenses (including insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs and co-insurance on deductibles). Extrapolated over an adult lifetime, this could mean an estimate $320,000 individual health expenditure between the ages of 18 and 79.

The impact of these real costs is considerable: more than one in four respondents said they had delayed a recommended procedure because of the cost – and almost 20% of respondents completely ignored the recommended care. For those who delayed or ignored recommended care, almost 50% said it caused additional medical problems.

The big question: are we saving enough?
According to the study, four out of five people say they don’t have a dedicated savings account for unexpected healthcare expenses. Of those who do, almost half say it is not enough. Less than half are actively saving for future health care expenses; and of those who are, only 55% think it will be enough to cover their expenses.

The generational divide
Although health care affordability was a key concern for all respondents, the study illustrates stark differences when the data is disaggregated by age:

  • Half of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Xers, on average, would delay non-emergency medical treatment if the cost of care was between $500 and $999 compared to about a third of baby boomers.
  • About 25% of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Xers would delay elective medical treatment if the cost of care was less than $500 compared to 16% of baby boomers and 10% of the silent generation.
  • 65% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Xers were financially unprepared for their most costly healthcare expenses. This number drops to over 40% for baby boomers and 23% for members of the silent generation.

Health care planning resources
Synchrony, a Fortune 200 company with a 90-year heritage in consumer lending and more than 35 years of experience financing healthcare through its CareCredit credit card, offers educational resources to help patients learn more about healthcare costs and financial solutions that can help patients plan and pay for care. To read the Synchronized Lifetime Health Costs research or to find content on various healthcare procedures, solutions for paying for care with or without insurance, and opportunities to ask questions of healthcare experts, please visit -study/.

CareCredit is a health and wellness credit card that patients can use to pay for deductibles, partially or uninsured treatments and procedures, and other health and wellness services for individuals and their pets. It is accepted at more than 260,000 vendors and outlets nationwide.

The Lifetime health costs The study was conducted by ASQ360° Market Research/Stephens & Associates on behalf of Synchrony. The researchers surveyed 3,176 respondents, including 592 Gen Z (born after 1996), 796 Gen Y (born 1977-1996), 791 Gen X (born 1965-1976), 836 baby boomers (born 1946-1964) and 161 members of the silent generation (born before 1946). The survey was conducted in July and August 2022.

About synchronization
Synchrony (NYSE: SYF) is a leading consumer financial services company with one of the most comprehensive digital product suites in the industry. Our experience, expertise and scale spans a wide range of industries including digital, health and wellness, retail, telecommunications, home, automotive, outdoor, pets company and more. We have relationships with an established and diverse group of national and regional retailers, local merchants, manufacturers, buying groups, industry associations and healthcare service providers, whom we refer to as our “Partners”. We connect our partners and consumers through our dynamic financial ecosystem and provide them with a diverse set of financing solutions and innovative digital capabilities to meet their specific needs and deliver seamless omnichannel experiences. We offer the right financing products to the right customers in the channel of their choice. For more information, visit and Twitter: @Synchrony.

Media Contact:
Michelle Blaya Romero
[email protected]

1 2022 Lifetime of Healthcare Costs, conducted by ASQ360oh Market Research/Stephens & Associates on behalf of CareCredit, August 2022; Based on the sum of health care provider visits, medical equipment, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and coinsurance costs exceeding deductibles.

2 2022 Lifetime of Healthcare Costs, conducted by ASQ360oh Market Research/Stephens & Associates on behalf of CareCredit, August 2022; 812 survey respondents with employer-sponsored single-coverage HMO or PPO health insurance plans.

SOURCE Synchrony


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