The recent rise in the unemployment rate may be costing the unemployed more than just their ability to pay bills. The added stress from creditor collection calls and letters can cause more than simple aggravation. When the stress level a person is under increases it can also affect health in several ways.
The first possible change is a rise in the blood pressure level. Elevated blood pressure can affect health in several ways, being more likely to have a heart attack or Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or stroke, blood clots, severe headaches, increase in arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries), increases the chance of kidney failure, or even blindness.
Another way in which this added stress affects health is to directly affect the rate of incidence of child, spousal and elder abuse. With added stress, those who have a tendency toward abuse, are more likely to abuse when under a great deal of stress. The injuries both physical and mental on those who are abused affects health. The increased stress levels on people has also caused an increase in the suicide rate. Suicide and attempted suicide rates increasing also affects the stress levels of the family members of those who commit suicide as well as those who attempt to commit suicide and their families. Stress causes many indirect costs on health.
Decreased nutrition of the foods eaten causes health problems. Eating an improper diet increases the probability of developing diabetes. Cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels are also affected by the healthiness of foods eaten. A diet high in sodium and fat also causes problems with health. Eating a poor or unhealthy diet increases the possibility of developing chronic health issues that may not have developed if the diet eaten had been better or more nutritious.
Unhealthy foods are many times cheaper than buying healthier and better quality foods. For those who qualify for food stamps, less expensive foods may be chosen to make the amount given in food stamps last longer. In many situations, people who do not have children, do not qualify for food stamps or monetary assistance programs. Food banks limit the number of times assistance can be received, and the foods donated are usually of less nutritional value than needed to sustain a healthy diet.
Malnutrition or starvation, as well as, vitamin deficiencies may develop from not having enough money to buy food, availability of food banks or public assistance programs. Many times this affects adults more than children because children may qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs at school. These programs are supported by the Food and Drug Administration, through the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Stamps are also funded by the Department of Agriculture. Many adults who do not have children may not qualify for public assistance programs since these programs are geared towards families with children. The number of members of a household increases with children and increases the likelihood of being approved for these programs. The number of household members also increases the amount of food stamps received.
Being unemployed, most people cannot afford the costs for COBRA. COBRA insurance coverage is very expensive, in most cases it costs more than the employer and employee contributions for the insurance provided by the employer. Many people do not qualify for COBRA assistance, leaving the person unable to maintain health insurance coverage because of the cost. Upon being hired by most companies, there is a 90 to 180 day waiting period before being eligible for benefits, including health insurance.
No longer having health insurance coverage, most people are less likely to see a doctor immediately upon noticing a health issue. Health problems are usually more severe before a person actually seeks medical attention. These medical conditions may have been easier to resolve if they had been treated earlier. Having to pay out of pocket for medical care, many people would seek out medical care sooner if covered by medical insurance.
Hoping a medical condition will resolve itself or attempting to self diagnose and self treat medical issues prior to seeking medical attention for illness, injury and disease is much more common. Unemployed workers may no longer have prescription drug coverage and may not be able to afford medications for chronic medical conditions and acute illnesses or injuries.
Being homeless can contribute to many health issues. Diseases and medical conditions such as tuberculosis, as well as, other communicable diseases such as head lice, body lice, hepatitis, flu, pneumonia, or colds can be contracted from living or staying in shelters in addition to other public areas. Frost bite, chigger bites, flea bites and other medical problems can arise from living and sleeping outside. Many shelters do not have anywhere for the homeless to cook, leading to decreased nutrition by eating instant foods which do not have to be cooked.
In many ways, the financial crisis is costing the public and taxpayers more than just money. The added medical costs, though indirect, still have to be paid for…by taxpayers, most likely. There is increased demand on charities and public assistance agencies. The costs incurred by the financial crisis on society are more than monetary. The added financial stress continues to cause deterioration of the family unit.
The higher number of unemployed people increases the theft rate, in addition to the increased suicide and attempted suicide rate, and the increase in the number of abused children, spouses and elderly people. The costs on health add to the tally in more ways than usually recognized. Many of our politicians do not recognize the costs to our society, country and world that are not monetary.
The entire costs of the financial crisis may not be completely recognized for many years, there may be even more costs that are not evident at this time. The costs of financial crisis must be addressed and not made worse by pretending the crisis does not exist, or glossing over and making believe the financial system is in recovery.
3. http://www.realestaterama.com/2010/06/16/hud-issues-2009-annual-homeless-assessment-report- to-congress-ID07313.html