Financial health is increasingly recognized as a pillar of well-being. And as employees take on more financial responsibility for health care, the tie-in to health becomes even stronger. A new study from Health Affairs highlights how a patient’s interaction with their physician can impact their financial health as well. Researchers analyzed almost 2,000 transcripts of physician-patient conversations and identified instances where patients noted that care would be difficult to afford. Many physicians dismissed these financial concerns by ignoring the financial concern or suggesting a free trial. What the patients really needed was a long-term strategy to deal with the cost of care. Generally, physicians aren’t trained to handle these financial conversations and further, many times they don’t know what a course of treatment will cost. This study illustrates the need for employers to provide the tools and resources to help employees with the financial burden of health care. Things like voluntary benefit offerings, concierge services and transparency tools can go a long way in contributing to the financial health and overall well-being of employees.
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