According to research from Sun Life Financial, most workers fear financial ruin more than death. And that fear is well-founded, shows Harvard-led research cited by the company.

The academic study of 2007 data, published in the American Journal of Medicine, found that 62 percent of all bankruptcies were medical. Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations — and worse yet, three-quarters of those who fell into bankruptcy did have health insurance.

It's the atypical catastrophic illness like heart attack, stroke or cancer that is liable to wreak financial havoc. Sun Life looked at its medical claims data and found that the out-of-pocket costs of these and other illnesses averaged $7,575. The average for a stroke approached $18,000.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.