It is pretty challenging to outdo Oprah–in anything, but John Oliver managed to do it. In a social statement that brought in nearly 400 thousand views on YouTube in less than 24 hours, Oliver bought $15 million of medical debt – and then he forgave it. Granted, the debt was expired and it only actually cost his show, Last Week Tonight, $60 thousand.
John Oliver is the host of Last Week Tonight, a show that aims to shed light on issues that governments and corporations have tried to keep private–whether through outright secrecy or just by the good fortune of the issue being jargon-heavy and boring. Debt-buying was the issue that Oliver discussed on his show on June 4, 2016.
Through a maze of Nicolas Cage and PCP-related jokes, Oliver revealed that American households have accumulated a debt of more than $12T–that “T” is for trillion, F.Y.I–and over 400 billion is more than 90 days overdue, or delinquent debt. Oliver then went on to explain that people really should pay their debt…if they can. Unfortunately, there are some who can’t. Accidents happen, people get sick, and hospital bills pile up. Much of the time, those hospital bills turn into delinquent debt, and this delinquent debt has inspired the birth of an industry: debt buying. This bottom-feeding industry harms thousands upon thousands of people every single year–just over a visit to the hospital.
Here are 5 tips for reducing your risk of racking up healthcare debt:
- Stick to regular medical check-ups. Your annual checkups play an important role in preventing major health problems down the road. At the checkup, you should discuss personal concerns you might have, make sure you are current on your vaccinations and ask what self-exams are appropriate for someone of your gender, age and health status.
- Self-exams can be a great way to save money and spend a Saturday evening. There are oral and skin cancer self-exams that everyone should perform. There is also breast cancer and testicular cancer self-exams that can be useful in identifying changes that should be examined by a medical professional.
- Are you sure it’s an emergency? But really, are you? The emergency room and Urgent Care will cost you.
- Don’t treat your body like a punching bag. Think of your body like a bank. Every time you eat a nutrient rich meal or go on a walk, you are depositing health into your body; every time you smoke a cigarette or eat a pound of M&Ms, you are withdrawing health from your body. Eventually you will be overdrawn, your body will break down and your real-life expenses will skyrocket.
- Being clean isn’t just about being socially acceptable. Germs are everywhere and they love to invade small cuts or incisions on your skin and turn them into lesions and sores. Wash your hands and brush your teeth. And keep your home clean too.
Another great way to keep your medical costs down is to take advantage of savings programs and coupons like the ones that searchRx offers.