Employees Lack Understanding Around How To Connect Health Care To Cost

Americans highly value and depend on their employee benefits—health insurance in particular—but lack the savvy and initiative to ask doctors, “How much will it cost?” According to a recent survey from Benz Communications and Quantum Workplace, that question could mean the difference in thousands of dollars for consumers, and millions for U.S. companies.

“For decades, it’s been clear from health claims data that employees lack understanding around how to connect care to cost,” said Jennifer Benz, founder and CEO of Benz Communications. “However, this data finally gives us that information from employees’ own mouths. Not only that, our findings show the overwhelming trust workers have in their employers—especially as it pertains to health benefits. Effective employee engagement is the only way to maximize that trust relationship and create employees who are truly capable and confident health care consumers.”

Additional findings include:

Workers largely ignore health costs—affluent workers in particular. Sixty-nine percent say they have enough information to get the right health care for themselves and their family, yet less than half (48 percent) always ask their doctor how much their care will cost. Among employees with household incomes of $125,000-$149,999, only 31 percent always ask their doctor how much a procedure will cost.

Employees clearly state: Will work for health benefits. Health coverage is a key reason workers stay in their jobs, as 70 percent indicate they depend on their benefits package; 89 percent say health benefits play a part in staying at their current employer—nearly half (48 percent) say they play a major part. Also, 73 percent wouldn’t work for a company without a health plan.

Most perceive health care reform negatively—and employers didn’t help. Among employees who say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act changed their benefits, 73 percent say the change made a negative impact. Employers didn’t exactly do their best to turn the tide: Barely half of workers (52 percent) say ACA-related benefit changes were adequately explained by their employer.

Just the existence of wellness programs can inspire health behaviors. Of workers who have access to workplace wellness program, 60 percent are inspired by their company culture to make healthy choices. Without a workplace program, just 15 percent are inspired to make healthy choices.

Communication correlates to more trust. Among employees who trust their company leaders, 49 percent say they receive frequent health and wellness communication. Among those employees who do not trust company leaders, only 28 percent receive frequent communications. Among those who say their manager supports their efforts to be healthy, 83 percent say there is open communication between employees and managers.

For more information, visit https://www.benzcommunications.com/.

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