As tax season approaches, some consumers are waiting for their refund checks to spend on a long-delayed purchase — a visit to the doctor or dentist.
U.S. consumers boosted their out-of-pocket health spending by 60% in the week after they got a tax refund, according to new research from JPMorgan Chase & Co., based on data from Chase customer accounts.
Spending stayed high for about 2 1/2 months, with about two-thirds of the extra spending money going to in-person payments to doctors and dentists. Much of the rest was used to pay down past bills.
Health insurers and employers have raised copays and deductibles for consumers, making them bear a larger portion of the cost of care when they go see a health care provider. As a result, patients sometimes lack the cash to get the care they may need, according to the report.