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.
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.
FSA Fridayis 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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.