Getting older is an inevitable part of life, and for women, it brings about an especially significant transition: menopause. Each year, more than 1 million American women embark on this multi-year health transformation, which typically occurs between the ages of 49 and 59 and can last for over a decade. While menopause is a natural phase of life, it comes with its own set of challenges, and beyond the physical aspects, it can take a toll on your finances.
A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in April 2023 shed light on the economic impact of menopause. The findings were staggering, revealing that menopause costs American women an estimated $1.8 billion in lost working time each year. The study also delved deeper into the effects of menopausal symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats on women in the workplace. Of the 4,440 survey participants, about 15% reported experiencing menopause symptoms severe enough to require time off or a reduction in working hours, and over 1% had left their jobs within the six months preceding the survey due to these symptoms.
But it’s not just the lost working time that takes a financial toll on menopausal women. The cost of treatment and healthcare can be a significant roadblock as well. According to a 2023 actuarial cost report by digital health platform Elektra Health, women diagnosed with menopause incur 45% more healthcare costs each year than their non-menopausal counterparts. In concrete terms, this translates to an average of $4,639 more each year.
So, what can women do to take better charge of their health and mitigate the financial costs associated with menopause?
- Maintain Health Coverage
Maintaining adequate health insurance is a key aspect of navigating the financial burdens of menopause. Health insurance can significantly reduce the costs associated with ongoing medical care, which often becomes more necessary as you age. Building a consistent relationship with a primary care provider and an OB-GYN can be invaluable. These healthcare professionals can educate you about what to look for, help you track physical changes and transitions over time, and provide guidance on treatment options.
However, in the United States, where insurance is often tied to employment, maintaining healthcare coverage can be a challenge, especially if menopause symptoms affect your ability to work. If you lose your insurance coverage, it’s essential to research your options for care, especially if you’re a senior or a retiree. Government-assisted plans may be available to you, ensuring that you have access to necessary medical care without incurring exorbitant costs.
- Stay Informed
Another crucial step is to proactively educate yourself about the changes occurring in your body. Whether you’ve already begun menopause or are still anticipating it, having a game plan in place is essential. Knowledge is power, and knowing what to expect can help you make informed decisions about your health and finances.
- Plan Financially
In light of the significant financial ramifications of menopause, women should consider integrating this life transition into their financial plan. Consulting with a financial advisor can be a vital step in ensuring you are financially prepared to face the costs associated with menopause. An advisor can help you establish a comprehensive strategy that takes into account your unique circumstances, financial goals, and healthcare needs. They can assist in creating a budget that accommodates healthcare expenses, offer guidance on savings and investment strategies, and explore insurance options that can provide a safety net during this transformative period.
At The Humphreys Group, we are devoted to seeing women thrive, both financially and personally. From health insurance to health savings accounts, learn how our firm can help you plan for the future. Questions? Please feel free to get in touch!