While financially vulnerable Americans face great risks in the current health insurance debate in Washington, regardless of the outcome, we know millions of working people will continue to struggle with the financial challenges posed by employer-sponsored High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). At Commonwealth, we are exploring new approaches to overcome these challenges.
The cost of health care is being shifted to employees with the growth of HDHP. These health expenses are a major cause of financial volatility, worry, and delayed or foregone medical care. This increase in cost to employees has negative effects on their financial security and on workplace productivity. Employers spend nearly $1 trillion a year on health benefits and yet the return on this investment is unclear.
Preliminary Consumer Research:
- 45% said that they would access healthcare more regularly if their employer contributed to their health savings
- 67% would have saved up money if they had known in advance that they would have a major expense
- 60% said that data about average out-of-pocket medical expenses would be needed to create a healthcare budget
We have talked with employers, HSA providers, medical providers, and health care experts and are exploring several approaches including the use of personalized data to change mindsets and financial behaviors of both employers and employees, the redesign of employee benefits to be customized to meet the needs of low wage workers, and integrated products that combine savings and credit. Improving Financial Security Through Employer Benefits describes this early stage work in detail.
We believe a collaborative cross-sector effort can lead to workplaces that build financial security.