Where employer health insurance falls short and how to be prepared

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Kara Robinson
August 19, 2021

As we start to emerge from the pandemic and return to in-person jobs, employees are navigating their workplace-offered health benefits with new eyes. Many are realizing that those benefits aren’t completely meeting their needs. 

Not having full insurance coverage can make financial stress worse

In 2019, the Commonwealth Fund published a study which found that in 2018, about 45% of Americans were underinsured. That’s about the same percentage as in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was passed. Another finding was that a substantial portion of those underinsured Americans were covered by their employer’s health benefits, but those benefits didn’t extend far enough. As a result, the employees ended up facing higher medical costs, because, in order to make up for healthcare not covered by their insurance, they were forced to pay out-of-network prices.

Health benefits are on everyone’s mind (and body)

Facing exorbitant medical bills is daunting, especially during a pandemic, when healthcare might become more crucial. Nine out of ten Americans say the coronavirus pandemic has caused stress on their personal finances, and 41% of Americans cited concerns over emergency savings as their current top worry. Ironically enough, stress can have significant health impacts. When under extreme stress, especially related to finances, the body goes into “fight or flight” mode. Symptoms of this include:

  • disturbed sleep
  • difficulty making decisions
  • weakened immune system

All of the above can negatively impact your ability to manage personal finance, get through a pandemic, or focus on work.

Out of pocket gets pricey

If you don’t have any health insurance, even commonplace procedures can rack up a big price tag. One site reported the average cost of five routine medical procedures in 2018:

  • Gastric bypass: $25,000
  • Angioplasty: $28,200
  • Knee replacement: $35,000
  • Hip replacement: $40,364
  • Heart bypass: $123,000
  • Heart valve replacement: $170,000

Having insurance will likely prevent you from having to independently pay for one of these procedures. But insurance itself continues to grow more expensive. From 2009-2019, the cost of both deductibles and premiums has drastically outrun the average worker’s income, as found in the New York Times.

According to the survey, the average premium paid by an employee is $6,000 annually. Employees often still face a deductible of $2,000 or more on top of this.

Staying prepared with an Emergency Savings Account

Emergency savings accounts have started to become a way for employees to take control of their personal finances and supplement employer health insurance. Putting aside a small portion of each paycheck can make a big difference. Even better, employers sometimes match ESA contributions to help their employees build an emergency fund. ESAs can also compensate for gaps in family members’ coverage. If your spouse or child needs a trip to the emergency room and your health insurance doesn’t reach that far, funds from ESA would come in handy.

SecureSave can help protect your financial health

SecureSave is designed to make creating an emergency fund fast and easy. It is a free emergency savings account that takes automatic deductions out of your paycheck every month and tracks your progress to your goal. It is completely liquid which means you can access the funds whenever you need them and it also lets your employer match your contributions. 

You can request to have your employer add SecureSave to its list of benefits – simply add your name to the waiting list today. Secure is dedicated to helping people save and improving the benefits offered by businesses. Contact us today to learn more.

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Kara Robinson

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