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NextGen Magazine


Sun Life Study: Medical Bills Exceeding 1 Million Dollars Rose By 87 Percent in Four Years

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 16, 2018

Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2017, the number of Sun Life Financial health insurance claimants with medical bills totaling a million dollars or more increased by 87 percent, attributed mainly to new life-saving treatment options coming to market, as well as existing treatments getting approved for expanded use, according to a report from the company. The study examined 62,000 medical stop-loss claimants from Sun Life's database and found that, in that four-year period, a total of 643 individuals submitted claims for medical expenses over a million dollars; the number of such individuals on a year-by-year basis has been growing rapidly. In 2014 there were 104 such people; in 2017, there were 194. While these people made up just 2.1 percent of total claims, they accounted for 19.9 percent of total payments made in this time period. 

Of those with million-plus dollar medical claims, 49 percent are under 20 years of age. Those younger than 2 are most likely to have had congenital anomalies; those 2 to 19 years old are most likely to have had cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and/or multiple myeloma; those between 20 and 39 years old are most likely to have racked up huge bills from hemophilia or other bleeding disorders; those between 40 and 59 years old—accounting for 24 percent of such claims—probably had cancer; and those older than 60 most likely had congestive heart failure.