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MetLife Study Finds Six Out Of Ten Employees Are Concerned About Covering Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs

Findings from MetLife’s 11 th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, reveal that concerns about addressing healthcare costs are impacting both employers and employees. Sixty-one percent of employees are worried about having enough money to meet out-of-pocket medical costs that are not covered by health insurance and employers are facing tighter benefits budgets, with half (50%) of surveyed employers stating that cost-sharing with employees is an important benefits strategy. These concerns are creating a delicate balancing act for employers—how to meet employees’ protection needs while keeping benefits costs down and maintaining loyalty.

Employers can help employees address these rising costs by making supplementary health benefits available through the workplace. Some of these voluntary benefits, such as accident and critical illness insurance, can help employees cope with unplanned medical costs. These employee-paid benefits allow workers to fill the gaps between their health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses without having employers add to their benefits budgets.

“As they continue to recover from the recession, employees are looking to employers to provide a stronger and wider safety net,” said Michael Fradkin, senior vice president, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits at MetLife. “In fact, according to the MetLife Study, 58% of employees who are very concerned that their employer will no longer offer medical insurance strongly agree that voluntary supplemental benefits are important for managing their health care costs.”

Employees Facing Financial Stress

In addition to covering out-of-pocket medical costs such as co-pays, premiums and deductibles, the Study also found other areas of financial stress for employees:
  • Fifty-five percent of employees report they worry about meeting their monthly living expenses and financial obligations;
  • Fifty-eight percent of employees are concerned about having enough money to make ends meet;
  • Fifty-three percent describe themselves as living paycheck to paycheck.

Addressing Loyalty Concerns

However, while the number of companies stating that a voluntary benefits strategy is important has grown from 32% in 2010 to 58% in 2012, employers may be concerned about the effect of benefits cost-sharing on employee loyalty.

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