Number of the day: skipping medical care

Nearly half of Americans say they are foregoing healthcare due to medical costs. Here’s what that means for HR leaders.
By: | May 28, 2021 • 2 min read

About three-quarters of Americans (73%) are worried about long-term healthcare costs, and nearly half are skipping care due to medical costs, according to a new survey from Lively. The health savings account provider surveyed 1,000 randomly selected U.S. Americans in April for results.

What it means to HR leaders

The rising cost of healthcare, coupled with the financial impact of COVID-19, has left many employees struggling financially—and more prone to skip necessary medical and preventive care. That’s a problem employers need to address.

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Skipping care, medications and procedures can have long-term and far-reaching negative consequences for employees, experts say. The survey findings, which paint a grim picture of financial wellbeing and healthcare costs, reinforce just how important comprehensive and personalized employer-sponsored healthcare coverage is, says Shobin Uralil, co-founder and COO of Lively.

“Medical expenses are the No. 1 reason Americans go into debt,” he says. “With increasing financial concerns surfaced from COVID-19, they are more likely to change jobs for healthcare benefits. To keep the best people satisfied in their jobs, employers must renew focus on providing quality health benefits and prioritizing employee wellbeing,” he says.

With 61% of Americans worried about healthcare costs in retirement, employers need to provide opportunities for employees to optimize their health benefits to address long-term healthcare costs, Uralil adds.

“Employers must provide a high-quality, comprehensive benefits package to attract talent and stay in business,” he says. “As employees engage with healthcare benefits more intentionally and look for ways to help offset rising healthcare costs, employers should consider giving employees a variety of plan offerings and savings options like a health savings account. This will empower employees to invest in their health and reduce their financial risk.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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