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New data from the JPMorgan Chase Institute suggests that when Americans get a tax refund, they use it to take care of health care needs they had been delaying.

The bottom line: People put off health care services based on their ability to pay.

The details:

  • Out-of-pocket health care spending rose by 60% in the week following a tax refund, according to a JPMorgan survey of more than 1 million checking accounts.
  • Most of that extra spending is in-person payments to providers — in other words, people are mostly using their extra cash to go to the doctor, not just to make other payments.
  • Health care spending remained higher for about 75 days after getting a tax refund, then returned to normal.
  • Payments using debit cards spiked by more than 80%. Credit card payments didn’t change.

The bottom line: That has some pretty significant implications as the system keeps heading toward insurance plans with higher out-of-pocket costs.

  • On the one hand, making people more attuned to what they spend on health care is a big part of the case for high-deductible plans.
  • But if people are putting off care they really need until they come into some extra cash, that’s not good for them or their long-term health care costs.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.