Increased Healthcare Costs Are Affecting Americans’ Financial Habits

a doctor holding up a black and silver stethoscope, and vector images of hexagons containing cartoon drawings of different medical aspects (medical sign, an eye, a list of healthcare services, a clipboard, a wheelchair, people, a syringe, a briefcase, a pill, and test tubes with liquid)

50% of employees with health insurance had higher healthcare expenses this past year, according to EBN magazine.1  What’s more is the higher costs are pushing employees to make poor financial decisions that not only prove harmful for their current situation but for their future as well.  With employees’ financial and general well-being in question – as well as employers’ bottom lines – now is the time to focus on mitigating the issues with a holistic financial wellness program that will help everyone get back on their feet.

First, the good news.  EBN magazine shared results from the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey, showing that higher healthcare costs lead to employees who are…

  • Taking better care of themselves (69%),
  • Looking for cheaper providers and insurance (25%),
  • And asking their doctors for cost-friendly treatments (41%).

Employees are trying to save money when it comes to their health.  The bad news… it’s costing them more than they think, both financially and physically.

Bad Habits with Health

As employees try to cut costs, they end up cutting their chances of a quick recovery.

  • 19% of employees delay their doctor visits until it’s serious.
  • When employees do visit the doctor and receive a prescription, 43% of them skip doses or don’t even fill the prescription because of the cost.

Bad Habits with Finances

Employees may have good intentions to save money because of increased healthcare costs, but the reality is that many are hurting rather than helping their financial situation.  Take a look at what else EBRI’s survey found:

  • 1 in 4 employees are decreasing retirement contributions, delaying retirement, and increasing credit card debt.
  • 1 in 2 employees decreased their savings contributions, and 1 in 4 have already used up most, if not all, of their savings.
  • Employees are dropping insurance benefits (15%), borrowing money (13%), and taking out loans or withdrawals from their retirement plans.

With the inability to overcome today’s financial challenges, employees are setting themselves up for future financial problems: overwhelming debt, no savings to compensate, and a serious lack of funds for retirement.

Bad Habits Mean Bad News for Employers

An employee’s financial struggles are contagious.  Employers lose an average of $2,000 per employee in lost productivity because of financial stress,2 and according to EBN, “Health issues cost U.S. businesses $576 billion annually, including sick days and workers’ compensation.”3  Bottom line: when employees suffer, their employers feel it too.

How to Turn Things Around

As the statistics show, problems in one area of finance (e.g. healthcare costs) have a way of affecting all areas of finance, and they play a huge part in one’s overall health.  That’s why employees need a financial wellness program that educates them on best practices for their finances and stimulates behavioral changes for a more improved well-being.

The My Secure Advantage Financial Wellness program (MSA) takes a holistic approach by improving both an employee’s financial and general well-being through education, coaching, and on-going support.

The highlight of the MSA program is one-on-one coaching where employees get to work with their own personal Money Coach.  Together, they focus on the employee’s particular financial challenge(s), create an action plan tailored to his or her lifestyle, and cultivate positive financial habits.

MSA can integrate with employee benefits in order to help employees with their wellness, 401(k) plan, HSA, stock purchase program, medical insurance, work leave, and more.  Moreover, the team of MSA Money Coaches have multiple certifications and topic specialties, so they’re equipped to help employees through any life stage, with any financial topic:  student loans, debt management, divorce, home purchase, disability, tax planning, and credit, to name a few.

Here are some of the results employers see with MSA:

  • Reduced stress and improved productivity
  • Improved overall well-being
  • Increases in retirement program deferral rates
  • Decreases in unscheduled absenteeism

When employees sidestep their own health and end up struggling with their finances, the whole workplace suffers.  The MSA Financial Wellness program will help employees not only learn how to make the most of their healthcare benefits, but also learn how to make the most of their finances overall.

Want to stimulate healthy finances in your workplace?  Talk with a MSA Customer Success Manager at 888-724-2326.

1“By the Numb3rs.”  EBN  Nov. 2015: 42.  Print.

2Otto, Nick.  “Financial Stress Costing Employers.”  EBN  Nov. 2015: 33.  Print.

3Friedman, Michael, PhD, and Deborah McKeever.  “How to not stress your employees to death.”  EBN, 9 Nov. 2015.  Web.  9 Nov. 2015.