Basics

FSA Friday - 2/1/19 - See where benefit costs go!

A picture is worth a thousand words. It might be a dated thing to say to an Instagram audience, but when it comes to adding some impact to data, it couldn't be more relevant. Especially when it comes to an area as confusing as health care costs.

This week's headline is built on that premise. Scott Wooldridge of BenefitsPRO gets to the bottom of a new analysis on the cost of employee benefits. And not just the overarching totals, but rather a clear view on how certain variables -- like geography, industry and size -- all affect the value of our benefit packages.

Breaking down benefit costs: 6 charts that show where the money goes - Scott Wooldridge, BenefitsPRO

The analysis was put together by Bay Alarm Medical, which published a report that compared a slate of employee benefits to overall costs of compensation (supplied by data on more than 27,000 roles and 6,600+ industries). The goal? To find out where companies are spending the most money on employee benefits.

We obviously won't repeat the report in full - they did a fantastic job on their own. So, here's a link to the full "Worth of Your Well-Being" report, followed by a few highlights we thought might be of some interest to you, starting with what the report calls 'the big picture.'

Overall cost of compensation

As the related chart points out clearly, almost 70% of employer compensation costs come from wages and salaries, with most of the remainder going to benefits -- an average of nearly $22,000 per employee, per year. Yet, health insurance covers just 7.5% of overall compensation, and other, more fringe benefits like student loan repayment are barely represented.

Benefit costs are increasing rapidly

This area saw a 28% growth over the last 14 years -- likely due to more chronic illness, aging workforces, and the higher costs of premiums.

The analysis finds that total costs of benefits to employers have increased 368% over that same 14 years. During that time, health benefit cost has increased by 28%, which the study attributes to chronic illness and rising costs from health care providers.

But it should be mentioned there was also a 161.8% boost in vacation use -- remember what we've been discussing each week about work/life balance being a factor to young employees? Well, now we have some visual data to back it up.

The charts and breakdowns are very well done and worth a look, even if you're just a little interested in seeing where your company might be allocating its money. After all, employees are a company's greatest asset -- and you deserve to know how they're investing in you.

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FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Basics

FSA Friday - 12/14/18 - Americans getting less healthcare, still paying more for it

"Affordable healthcare." To many Americans, those words are practically an oxymoron. Despite what we assume to be everyone's best efforts, people still struggle to afford anything but the most basic care services, even if they have adequate coverage.

And it's a trend that might be here a while… at least if this week's headlines are any indication. Because, as we're learning, far too many Americans are putting off healthcare services strictly due to cost. And yet, the average healthcare cost-per-person still rose this past year. Let's see what's going on.

20% of Americans are deferring healthcare because of cost, poll finds - Kelly Gooch, Becker's Healthcare

According to an NPR-IBM Watson Health poll, which surveyed more than 3,000 households, 20% of respondents were putting off treatments and visits due to out-of-pocket costs. And it's not just checkups -- important services were being delayed for the same reasons.

Unsurprisingly, younger (under 35) respondents led the charge here. We've spent a good amount of bandwidth discussing millennials and their perspectives on modern healthcare. But we never expected such a large percentage of them to avoid doctors because of costs. Yet a massive 34% of those surveyed admitted to just that.

Even more alarming, 41% of respondents under 35 said the same struggles extended to members of their households, as well.

The article gets more granular with the figures, discussing prescription drug costs and the notable differences between age groups. It's a sobering read, to say the least.

Americans spent $10,739 per person on health care in 2017 - Marlene Satter, BenefitsPRO

Healthcare cost and wellness is certainly becoming a vicious cycle. Because premiums, deductibles and prescription costs all continue to rise, regardless of adoption rates. And the largest hits are affecting those who don't have employer-sponsored benefits, and have to pay for healthcare themselves.

And because fewer people are adopting health benefits, costs of services and medications will continue to rise until a better balance can be achieved.

With some frightening detail about the specifics of this problem, the article is well worth your time.

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FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.