This post is part of our “Dear E.B.” series, in which Mercer’s very own advice columnist (“E.B.,” for Employee Benefits) responds to questions concerning health and well-being that are on the minds of employees across the country.
Help! Last year I signed up for our company’s high-deductible plan, but a couple of months ago my husband stepped on my toddler’s ball and broke his ankle. What with the ER and the follow up we blew through our deductible. I did not budget for that and now we’re starting the new year already behind!! So I’m all stressed out and my doctor says that’s bad for my blood pressure and will make my diabetes worse. How can we get back on track?
I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s ankle and hope he’s on the mend. But I do have some advice which I hope will be of help. I would recommend that you start to keep a rainy day savings account for emergencies. I know it’s hard to save that little extra, but it sure does come in handy when something unexpected happens. There are a couple of resources you can access through your benefits site that could help. You can use “HelloWallet” to track your daily expenses -- that will help you figure out what you might be able to cut back on a little to save. And for guidance on investing your savings, you can get help from “Financial Engines.”
Thinking ahead to next year, don’t forget to complete the Health Risk Assessment and biometric screening -- you’ll receive a significant premium reduction that will help to defray expenses before you meet the deductible. And finally -- who wouldn’t be stressed with all this going on? First, take a deep breath. And then check out any resilience support your employer might offer -- “Mequilibrium” is a great program offering online coaching. Plus you can reach out to your EAP. Good luck!
Advice provided by Sharmila Shankarkumar in Mercer’s New York office.