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Reduce Healthcare Costs with Financial Wellness

The health risks associated with stress are pushing healthcare costs higher and higher for employers and employees.  Combating increasing health costs means targeting the number one stressor in America: finances.
By MSA Staff

The health risks associated with stress are pushing healthcare costs higher and higher for employers and employees.  Combating increasing health costs means targeting the number one stressor in America: finances.  The strong connection between finances, stress, and impossible healthcare costs points to the need for and recovery through a financial wellness program.

For years the American Psychological Association (APA) has studied stress in America: the general public’s level of stress, what causes it, and the consequences.  According to APA…

  • Money is the top stressor for most Americans (72%), and it has been for nearly a decade.¹
  • 67% of people said their stress causes emotional symptoms.²
  • 72% of people said their stress causes physical symptoms.²

Financial stress plagues most Americans, and their health is paying the price:  APA found that stress causes irritability, lack of energy and/or motivation, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and indigestion.²

An AICPA study expanded the list of negative effects: of those who deal with high financial stress…

  • 1 in 2 sleep less.³
  • 1 in 2 lose patience with friends or see them less.³
  • 1 in 3 gain weight or eat more junk food.³
  • 1 in 5 fight more with their significant other.³
  • 1 in 6 get sick more often.³

This combination of financial stress and the associated health risks leads to issues with healthcare costs.  Unfortunately, around two-thirds of employees fear they won’t be able to meet medical out-of-pocket expenses,⁴ and it doesn’t help that healthcare costs are 46% higher for stressed employees than non-stressed employees.⁵  In fact, one in five people skip going to the doctor, even though they need health care, because of financial challenges,¹ which means they can’t properly address their problems.

Employers are feeling the effects too:  69% of employers agree that financial challenges have a direct effect on healthcare costs,⁶ and employers agree that the current trend for healthcare costs is unsustainable.

Money issues heighten stress; stress causes health problems; health problems bring more financial worries.  The best way to break the cycle is by addressing the underlying issue – finances.  Focusing on financial wellness will minimize financial stress and the subsequent health issues.

What is financial wellness, exactly?  Financial wellness is confidence in meeting financial goals and surrounding challenges now and in the future.  It involves a good understanding of financial principles, and practicing those principles to establish a solid financial foundation.  It’s about developing valuable knowledge of and positive behaviors with money.  Through a financial wellness program, employees learn best practices and implement them in order to meet the financial demands of today and goals for tomorrow.

Employees who have access to the My Secure Advantage (MSA) Financial Wellness program through their benefits plan see great improvement, and so do their employers.

  • 1 in 2 employees say they worry less about unexpected financial and health issues because of the benefits they receive at work.⁷
  • 72% of employees experience decreased financial stress after enrolling in their employer-based financial wellness program.⁸
  • According to recent research, financial wellness programs can provide ROI of 3:1 per employee.⁸
  • Employers who offered financial wellness programs saw an average $348 reduction in operating costs per sick day, per employee.⁸
  • Over half of employers (53%) see an improvement in overall well-being due to their financial wellness programs.⁹
  • 41% of employers strongly believe that wellness programs effectively reduce healthcare costs.10

In the context of healthcare, our financial wellness program offers employees the knowledge and skills they need to take control of their finances, which removes their major stressor and stops the costly effects.

What does our financial wellness program look like?  MSA focuses on improving and maintaining financial wellness, and general well-being, through the multifaceted approach of education, coaching, and on-going support for money management.  Employees can attend monthly webinars on various financial topics, get access to hundreds of financial articles, and work one-on-one with a personal Money Coach.  MSA Money Coaches are salaried, in-house financial professionals with multiple credentials (e.g. Accredited Financial Counselor).

Our sole purpose is to eradicate financial stress in America by helping employees learn and implement healthy financial habits.  Through MSA, employees get the accountability and guidance they need to reduce their financial stress and improve their financial wellness.

1 in 3 employees think their employer should help them address concerns about financial security,11 and 76% of employers are either somewhat or very likely to focus on their employees’ financial well-being.12  Lower the costly health risks within your workforce by implementing our financial wellness program today.  Call 888-724-2326 to get started.

¹Stress in America: Paying With Our Health.  APA, 4 Feb. 2015.  Web.  16 Feb. 2015.  PDF.

²“A Stress Snapshot.”  apa.org.  APA, 2007-.  Web.  1 Jul. 2014.

³“AICPA Survey: Money Stress Taking Toll on Many Americans’ Waistlines, Friendships, Sleep.”  aicpa.org.  New York: AICPA, 23 Apr. 2013.  Web.  11 Jun. 2015.

⁴“HCR and Productivity Pressures.”  MetLife: 2013 Study of Employee Benefits Trend.  New York: MetLife, 2013.  Web.  25 July 2013.

Stress in the Workplace:  Meeting the Challenge.  Health Advocate.  PDF.

Remodeling the Benefits and Retirement Income Space: An Excerpt from the 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends.  New York: MetLife, 2011.  Web.  6 Sep. 2013.

⁷“When employees get the benefits they want, everyone wins.”  Benefits Impact.  MetLife, N.d.  Web.  12 May 2015.

Financial Wellness Landscape Analysis:  An Overview of the Need for Workplace-Based Financial Wellness Programs.  ING Employee Benefits, 2013.  PDF.

⁹Paycheck Direct, SourceMedia Research and Employee Benefits News.  Promoting Financial Wellness in the Workplace.  N.p.  2013.  Web.  15 Oct. 2013.  PDF file.

10

“Benefits Breakthrough.”  12th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study.  New York: MetLife, 2014.  Web.  17 Apr. 2014.  PDF.

11

Benefits Impact: Delivering Dynamic Benefits for a Loyal Workforce.  MetLife, 2015.  Web.  12 May 2015.  PDF.

12

Atchison, Amy and Rob Austin, FSA, EA.  2014 Hot Topics in Retirement: Building a Strategic Focus.  Aon Hewitt, 2014.  PDF.

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