There are two ways to spend the holidays without paying for a medical bill: treat yourself or let your loved ones.
Read moreCaregivers for the elderly, people with disabilities and people who have been sick can expect to pay for their own medical bills, says a new report.
The National Society of Health Care Professionals, a professional group representing more than 1,000 healthcare professionals, released a report on the health of Canadians on Thursday.
The report is based on survey results of more than 13,000 Canadians who answered questions online.
It found the average annual cost for a full year of care was $1,818, up from $1 to $1.28 a year before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2014.
The average annual income for Canadians aged 65 and over increased by 2.5% to $68,000.
The average annual household income for seniors grew by 2% to about $64,000 a year.
For Canadians with disabilities, incomes grew by 0.3% to less than $11,000 per year.
The report also found that seniors and people with low incomes who live in remote communities are more likely to be billed for medical expenses.
Those seniors were twice as likely as those who live within a city to have health insurance premiums, or their premiums, exceed their cost of living.
While seniors are more than twice as often billed for healthcare costs, the average household income of people with a disability rose by 0% to nearly $25,000 annually.
The poverty rate for people with no dependents increased by 1.2% to almost 17% of people in the survey.
People with disabilities have the highest costs for health care, and they have been the target of more bills than anyone else.
The survey found that of the 18% of Canadians who had insurance, 11% were billed for health costs.
People with disabilities are more at risk of being billed for hospitalizations, tests, medications and other medical services.
The most common cost for seniors, people aged 65 years and over, is the cost of treating an infection.
For people with limited English proficiency, the cost for their care was more than $2,500 annually.
The survey also found seniors who live on reserve and people living in remote regions are more vulnerable to having to pay medical bills.
People living on reserve are more often asked to pay a higher share of their income for care than people living elsewhere.
They also often face higher costs for out-of-pocket expenses, including the cost to pay bills, or to arrange care.
In the end, health care costs are the biggest source of annual household expenditures for Canadians.
The health of those Canadians will be closely monitored in the years ahead, says the report. Read more