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Working Adults Demand Reduction in Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated healthcare costs.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by AllGo
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by AllGo

Medical treatment costs in the United States have reached unprecedented levels, causing significant concern among the public. Many feel unprepared to manage the financial burden. A recent study by New York Life Insurance Company surveyed working adults across the nation, comprising 1996 employed adults with health insurance either from their employer or their spouse's employer. The findings shed light on the anxiety stemming from escalating medical expenses.

Pexels | Pixabay
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

The survey revealed that 72% of respondents expressed the need for reduced out-of-pocket medical expenses. More than half of the participants reported covering higher out-of-pocket costs compared to previous years.

The findings underscored the impact of financial strain on healthcare decisions, with 57% of respondents admitting to delaying treatments due to financial constraints, a figure escalating to 70% among millennials. Additionally, 41% expressed feeling ill-equipped to handle unexpected medical costs, while 44% admitted they would resort to taking on debt to cover such expenses.

Furthermore, a third of respondents confessed to lacking understanding of their health insurance coverage, emphasizing the need for enhanced resources to facilitate better comprehension of benefits and coverage.

Pexels | Photo by Anna Shvets
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Anna Shvets

Meghan Shea, Vice President at New York Life Group Benefits Solutions, highlighted the concerning gap in financial preparedness among employed adults amidst rising healthcare costs. "In working with employers there’s been an increased focus on employees' financial wellbeing. Unfortunately, our latest research shows that the needle hasn’t been moved when it comes to unexpected healthcare costs."

"The survey highlights a critical gap in financial preparedness among employed adults in the face of growing healthcare costs, and it’s clear that many would like help bridging costs that are not covered by their health insurance plans. That’s why we designed our new voluntary benefit offerings which aim to help close this gap, offering additional financial protection against out-of-pocket healthcare expenses," she added.

These assistants are required even when doctors are not around and taking patient care is a mandatory job for hem|Pexels
Image Source:Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

The United States faces some of the highest healthcare costs globally, with the average annual medical expense per person totaling $13,493, nearly 50% higher than in other developed countries. Several factors contribute to this trend, including the prevalence of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, which drive up healthcare spending.

Moreover, insurance premiums have surged by over 40% in the past decade, with the average family premium reaching $22,463.

Image Source: Photo by MART PRODUCTION | Pexels

The widespread adoption of high-deductible health plans has resulted in increased out-of-pocket costs, with families often required to pay up to $14,000 for health coverage. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated healthcare costs, with hospitals implementing costly sanitation and testing protocols, adding financial strain to patients.

"Given the level of economic uncertainty and increased health risks presented by the pandemic, these years have been challenging for patients and providers alike," said Mark Spinner, CEO of AccessOne.