PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST THE UNEXPECTED

Nat Geo Explorer and surgical nurse Rosem Morton documents the emotional impact of receiving unexpected medical bills not covered by traditional health insurance. By profiling three individuals with unique stories, she unpacks a common issue faced by many in the U.S.

THE ISSUEA COMMON
FINANCIAL EXPERIENCE

The worst kind of bill is one
that's unexpected.

While receiving medical care, even for something routine like a pregnancy, Americans might often find themselves in uncharted financial territory. High deductibles, copays, and excluded treatments start adding up—and that's before you factor in the unanticipated travel and purchases needed for a smooth recovery.

All of these realities make total out-of-pocket medical costs notoriously difficult to predict. More than ever, with rising healthcare spending and the current pandemic, millions of insured people are left scrambling to cover costs they never expected. The uncertainty adds a layer of stress in the background for patients at a time when they need to be focused on getting better. Rosem Morton, a registered nurse, photographer, and National Geographic Explorer, set out to document this issue by capturing three such stories, offering an inside look at an experience that is all too common, yet unique for every household.

At times when you think your insurance should be working more for you, you realize it's working less. We see this very often among patients in our system.

LATOYA SELBYDirector, Systems-Nursing Administration at NYC hospital

READ THEIR STORIES

READ THEIR STORIES

National Geographic met with a diverse roster of real people who have dealt with unexpected medical bills not covered by their health plans. Explore their stories now.

STORYTELLER BIOROSEM MORTON

Rosem Morton is a documentary photographer and nurse based in Baltimore, Maryland. As a National Geographic Explorer, she has been chronicling her day-to-day experiences on the frontlines of the fight to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Fascinated by the interconnectedness of resilience and health, she is concerned by situations where people are forced to test their resilience due to holes in healthcare and in health knowledge. Through her work, she hopes to contribute to a greater public understanding of health and healthcare. She is often found in the company of her husband, Ian, who is also a photographer and nurse.

0

of adults are worried about
being able to afford unexpected
medical bills.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

0

Americans faced a medical financial
hardship in the past year.

Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine

An estimated

0

Americans with employer coverage spend a large share of their income on premiums or out-of-pocket costs,
or both.

Source: The Commonwealth Fund

HELP PROTECT YOURSELF

Aflac is there for people during life's most challenging moments to help protect against unexpected medical bills. No one can predict when these life events will happen, but Aflac helps give you an additional layer of financial security, a safety net for unexpected medical bills to help provide peace of mind when you're sick or injured. Aflac pays you money directly, unless otherwise assigned, to help cover the expenses that health insurance doesn't, getting you the money you and your family need quickly.

Aflac can help with expenses health insurance doesn't cover.

LEARN MORE