Anxiety About Cost of Health Care

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Anxiety About Cost of Health Care
Calendar24 June 2016

According to a new Gallup survey, 15.5 percent of adults say the cost of health care is not affordable. That’s the lowest number since Gallup began tracking this in 2008, which is the good news. But we think there’s reason to be concerned about affordability in the future.

Mercer’s annual survey Inside Employees' Minds includes questions on the affordability of health care. The latest survey found that only 9% of employees say health care is not affordable –- but that 30% say it is not easily affordable. And when we ask about the cost of health care in five years, 23% worry it will not be affordable, with an additional 36% concerned it will not be easily affordable. It is safe to say that higher deductibles and higher prescription drug costs are fueling this concern.

We all know stress and financial concerns impact employee health and job performance. There are many things employers can do to help –

  • Provide tips on how to “shop” for health care using cost transparency tools

  • Arm employees with questions to ask when making an appointment or at the doctor’s office

  • Raise awareness of lowest-cost options for accessing care (like telemedicine)

  • Promote use of health savings accounts for current expenses and also for retiree medical costs

  • Remind employees about services available through the EAP and other programs that can help them with household budgeting and financial planning to make the best use of their money

Employees have access to so many tools and resources that it is hard to keep track of them all and know when to use them. Once again, communications is the key.

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