HR pros may want to make increased healthcare education one of their top priorities for the New Year.
Reason: An alarming number of employees are skipping out and putting off important medical treatments, according to a recent Gallup survey.
Largest in survey’s history
The survey asked individuals if they’ve ever put off any medical treatments for themselves or their families in the past 12 months.
And an alarming 33% said they had. That’s the largest percentage in the survey’s history.
You may think the people putting off treatment are the ones without insurance, but that’s not the case. Thirty-four percent of individuals with private insurance admitted to this problematic behavior.
The study also revealed that 22% of Americans put off medical treatment for a “very” or “somewhat serious” condition in the past year, which was also the highest figure on record.
When workers don’t use their health benefits it does generally bring down employers’ premiums – at least in the short-term.
But here’s the problem: Forgoing treatment allows medical problems to linger, which often leads to major (aka costly) problems in the long-term.
Extra education needed
Here’s where education comes in. The Gallup report found that most individuals find their healthcare plans confusing and aren’t sure what’s covered, what’s not and what treatments actually cost.
As a result, they’re avoiding care altogether. That’s where you can help. Some extra education on how much more costly it can be in the long run to put off medical care is one route.
It’s also a good idea to review the best ways to use tax-advantaged accounts like FSAs and HSAs, and when an urgent-care center is a better option than the ER.