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The holiday season has arrived. Cold weather is sweeping the nation, dinner tables everywhere are piled high with festive foods and merry window displays are popping up in department stores. While pleasant, a joyful holiday season tends to come with a price tag for many Americans. According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer will spend $1,048 this holiday season.

However, an Aflac study indicates this number may be cut nearly in half for American families with outstanding medical expenses. In the past two years, 47 percent of families with children that visited a hospital had to pay $500 or more in out-of-pocket costs in addition to copayments and deductibles. In fact, medical expenses are a key reason people have had to make significant sacrifices during the holidays, including:

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