1 in 3 workers saw higher health costs this year, survey finds

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  • According to a survey published Thursday by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 1 in 3 workers reported an increase in their health costs this year.
  • Many also experienced negative financial side effects such as low retirement savings and high credit card debt.
  • The typical family of four covered by a workplace health plan is expected to see an 8% increase this year compared to 2020, according to the Milliman Medical Index.

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A third of working Americans saw their health care costs increase this year, according to a survey published Thursday by the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

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According to the survey, those expenses prompted some employees to reduce retirement plan contributions, delay going to the doctor, increase credit card debt, or use up all or most of their savings.

According to the survey, four out of 10 respondents, whose health costs have increased, have trouble paying bills or covering basic living expenses. This share is up from 29% in 2020.

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“It’s certainly a concern if people have to cut back on food and shelter for their health care,” said Paul Fronstein, director of the health research and education program at EBRI.

“You don’t want people with chronic conditions to get to the point where they are no longer taking their medications to control those conditions,” he said. “It can reach the point if they can’t cut back [other] Expenditure.”

EBRI’s annual Workplace Wellness Survey surveyed 2,016 American workers aged 21-64 from July 7 to July 27. The survey did not identify which specific costs (such as insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses) increased for workers.

In some respects, it should come as no surprise that a third of workers reported higher health costs this year, according to Fronstein. Americans are accessing more health care services than last year, when health facilities were closed or people were afraid to go to in-person appointments, he said.

In 2020, annual health care costs fell 4.2% compared to 2019, according to a medical index Published in May by consulting firm Milliman. According to the consulting firm, Americans ended or postponed care, it was the first reduction in that price index.

According to Milliman, health costs are expected to rise 8.4% (up to $28,256) this year compared to last year. (The firm measures the cost for a family of four covered by the average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization, or PPO, health plan.)

The price consumers pay for medical care was 0.4% higher in August 2021 than a year ago statistics From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. (These figures are for the US population in contrast to Milliman data, which shows people covered by a health plan at work.)

According to the EBRI survey, 49% of employees slashed their retirement-plan savings because of increased health costs, 48% delayed a doctor’s visit, 48% increased credit card debt, and 47% lost all of their Or used up most of the savings. .

However, not all the effects were negative – 63% also increased contributions to health savings accounts, a tax-advantaged account for workers with high-deductible health plans.

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