In 2016, 54% of employers are implementing high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to control healthcare costs, up from 48% in 2014. As more employers offer HDHPs, working Americans require more support. Insufficient funds and a lack of education can lead workers to take risks with their health.
Three in 5 working Americans are unable to pay a $3,000 out-of-pocket medical expense.
Faced with such an expense, here’s how working Americans would pay the bill:
- 37% would have to make a deal with the provider to pay over time
- 34% would have to put the bill on a credit card
- 9% would ask for a loan from friends/family
- 6% would take a bank loan
An unintended consequence of this financial stress is the risk working Americans are taking with their health, which includes ignoring medical advice or neglecting their own health care. One in 3 employees with an HDHP state that because of the high out-of-pocket costs they did at least one of the following in the past year:
- Skipped a doctor visit
- Delayed a recommended procedure/surgery
- Failed to fill a prescription
- Avoided a blood test or x-rays
Education is critical for working Americans to understand their options and mitigate longer-term health risks
When a Health Savings Account (HSA) is offered in conjunction with an HDHP, employees can set aside pre-tax dollars to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. Employers may also contribute to their employees’ HSA to provide a base level of funding.
- Yet, three in 5 employers do not offer an HSA alongside their high deductible plan
- Even when employees have access to an HSA, many do not fully understand how to fund or utilize it.
Effective employee education and communication about ways to properly use an HSA is important to ensuring workers can cover their medical bills.
Supplemental health benefits such as the following can also help to offset certain costs associated with medical care not covered under an employee’s health plan:
- Hospital indemnity insurance
- Accident insurance
- Critical illness insurance
- Cancer insurance
As with HSAs, providing education on how these employee benefits can reduce the impact of higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs is critical to helping working Americans manage their personal health care costs and services.
Watch the video to learn more.