Making Health Care More Affordable: It Starts with Education

In the past year, health care spending exceeded $2.6 trillion and put a strain on many families and business owners.  Some factors that contribute to this rise in health care costs are the price of providing medical care, wasteful consumer medical spending, and personal health behaviors.  Avoiding the rise in health care costs is impossible, but learning about what you can do to manage these costs can help your family or your business.

According to a Monmouth University poll, one in four Americans report that the cost of health care is the biggest concern they face.  A poll asked consumers how difficult it was to pay for the following items: rent, groceries, health insurance premiums, health care deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, and taxes with health insurance and deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses were ranked second and third.  20% of the poll’s respondents said there has been a time in the past two years that they had to choose between paying for health care and paying for things like rent or mortgages and some forgoing much needed health care because they felt like they couldn’t afford it.  

“The growth of health care costs remains a burden,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “…a large number of Americans report that these concerns pervade nearly every aspect of their lives.”

It is now more important than ever for health care consumers to have access to the tools to help manage their employer-provided health care plans and out-of-pocket medical expenses.  As health care consumers, we all have the power to help reduce health care costs.

Where do we start?  It starts with EDUCATION.

We all play many rolls in our life, at work and at home.  As a trusted advisor, educate your clients on the current tax-advantaged benefit plan that could help their business save thousands of dollars a year in tax savings.  As an employer, educate your employees on how to properly use, and get the most out of, the benefit plans in place in the business.  As a health care consumer, educate yourself and your family on making better health care choices.  Check out a few of the ideas listed below to get started:

1.  In the workforce, educate on Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) in the business.

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) are the lowest overall cost option for your employees.  When paired together, Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Flexible Spending Accounts help those employees pay for all qualified expenses related to health care, which includes medical expenses such as deductibles, copays, and prescription costs.  Together, these plans offer cost-savings for the employer and benefit the employee.  Everyone has a unique health journey so with a variety of benefit options, employees can personalize their benefits selection.

2.  In your daily life, educate the better health care choices.

We, as health care consumers, can take any number of steps to improve our own health and save on medical expenses.  Anything from quitting smoking, losing weight, learning more about the benefits package implemented in our workplace and using it properly, to making other good choices about purchasing medical care, health care costs can be lowered and your overall health care spending could be reduced.

More than rent, taxes, or groceries; people worry about the cost of health care.  When health care consumers are properly educated, they are able to make smarter health care decisions, which can help save them money.  If you know anyone who could benefit from a tax-advantaged savings plan, BASE® is here to help.  BASE® can help educate and customize a benefit plan to meet your business’ needs.  Call 888.386.9680 or visit our website.   

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