Dear HR Executive,
Nobody can blame you if you ask employees to assume a larger portion of their healthcare coverage as costs continue to rise.
But have you considered the hidden impact of this seemingly straightforward business decision?
A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund threw out some startling statistics about the effect of healthcare coverage costs on U.S. households – and this may lead you to different conclusions about asking employees to pony up more.
Here's what the study found:
- 41% of working-age adults had trouble paying medical bills in 2007, up from 34% in 2006.
- Of those struggling with medical bills, 39% used up all their savings paying them. Some 30% took on credit debt to do so, and 29% were at some point unable to pay for food, heat, or rent.
And, significantly, 61% of those with problems paying bills or significant medical debt were insured at the time the care was provided.
Think about the effect on your employees if they're among those in such dire straits over the cost of healthcare coverage.
- Suffer financial stress that affects their sleep and drains their daytime energy.
- Be forced to take second or third jobs, potentially affecting the quality of the work they do for you, their main employer.
- Forgo filling prescriptions and other health-related expenses, leaving them vulnerable to medical conditions that hamper their productivity.
Rethinking healthcare coverage
Nobody knows what's best for your business better than you. Next time you're hit with a health insurance premium hike, you may feel you have no choice but to ask employees to pay a bigger share of the cost.
But before you take such measures, it may be worthwhile to consider the hidden costs spotlighted by the study. You may be able to find ways to revamp your plan design so as to make co-pays and deductibles for the worst productivity-sapping conditions more affordable.
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