Increasing Healthcare Costs Lead to Stress in Employees: How Employers can Help
Lack of money is a prominent source of increased stress levels in our work and personal life. It adversely affects the productivity of employees in the workplace. Continuous increasing healthcare expenses is identified as one of the main concerns causing the shortage of cash flow for people. This sets off an endless loop as the increased stress levels caused due to higher healthcare expenses, further increase the cost of wellbeing.
As per the recent report by PwC (Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2020), the primary factors of increasing healthcare expenses are:
- Increased drug spending.
- Chronic Diseases are becoming common.
- Increased Access to mental healthcare services.
Another study from PwC found that employers don’t offer any help to their workforce to handle such financial difficulties. Only 18% of employees stated that their employers had offered them financial wellness programs to help with these challenges.
However, In-fact the employees have a very low satisfaction level with the steps taken by employers to address such issues. Regardless of whether their company offered budgetary wellbeing programs, employees may, in any case, need some expertise in taking care of money related challenges to accommodate their individual needs.
Role of Employers
Guide Employees in Choosing Healthcare Plans According to their Needs
The company can offer them HSA (health saving accounts) in which both employee and employer can contribute. This account qualifies to cover essential healthcare services when deductibles are met. The withdrawals made from HSA accounts for health expenses are fully tax-free and the amount left in the account after the withdraw is also eligible to earn interest.
Mostly, employees are not aware of HSAs and those who are aware, don’t know how to get benefit from this and save their medical expenses. Here is the role of employers come into play as they must educate their workforce about the benefits of contributing money to such accounts. They should also remain honest with their regular contributions to these saving accounts made to help employees financially to meet their healthcare needs.
Preventive Wellness Programs to Fight with Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases make the largest part of the medical cost of employees. As per the healthcare experts, the cost led by chronic diseases is likely to rise sharply in the coming ten years. Employers are advised to incorporate preventive wellness programs for their workforce so they stay away from chronic health concerns and lower their healthcare expenses. Here are some of the initiatives that can be included in the wellness program:-
- Promote physical activities in the workplace through various initiatives such as wearable, walking meetings, stand up desks, walkthrough stairs and fitness breaks between work hours.
- Comprehensive smoking cessation programs for the workforce.
- The healthy eating program can be organised in the workplace that works to include healthy eatables in the office cafeteria. Employers can ask their employees to bring healthy food at the workplace by celebrating food wellness week through such programs.
Encouraging Employees to Keep Eye on Unnecessary Treatment Expenses
Employees spend a lot of money on unnecessary medical expenses because of the lack of prior study of the diagnosed diseases and their treatment procedures. To avoid such situation employers should help their employees by identifying what is necessary to pay for. Also, employers can encourage employees to explore a more cost-effective way of addressing the problem for better outcomes. For example, opting for physical therapy over surgery can save their healthcare cost and generate better results.
Reduced healthcare costs benefit both employees as well as employers in the form of increased productivity, improved business outcomes, reduced presenteeism & absenteeism and many more. However, Employers will have to explore many other effective options to address this rapid increasing cost of the healthcare expenses in conjunction with implementing wellness initiatives in the workplace to keep their workforce healthy.