Employees Need Help Understanding Benefits and Planning for Future Healthcare Needs
Bend, Sep 21, 2021 11:00:00 AM
Nearly 75% wish they’d learned about HSAs and how health insurance works before they entered the workforce
Almost one in seven Americans have absolutely no plan for their future financial and healthcare needs, new research suggests.
A recent study of 2,000 employed Americans found that only 26% have a one-to-four-year plan in place. And even with many believing they’d factored healthcare costs into their future plans, seven in 10 respondents grossly underestimated the amount of money they think the average retirement-aged couple needs for health expenses.
For long-term financial goals, nearly three in five are using a 401(k)/retirement account and 31% are leveraging a health savings account.
But despite that, nearly three-quarters of Americans admitted they had no clue how 401(k)s, health insurance or HSAs worked when they got their first job.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bend Financial, the study also discovered nearly 40% of respondents weren’t well-informed about health benefits at their first professional job and were left to research the benefits offered on their own.
Moreover, more than half felt overwhelmed by the mountain of paperwork surrounding their benefit options. More than three in five have also felt stuck in a job, but not always for obvious reasons. While nearly half feared they wouldn’t be able to find a similar or better salary, 41% were afraid of losing their benefits—much more than those who feared their skills weren’t transferable (22%).
Respondents noted a number of changes that could have been made to improve the role they felt stuck in. While a better salary was key for 64%, half said they’d prefer better health benefits—more than those who mentioned a better work/life balance (46%) and tuition assistance (25%).
But while an increased salary and better health benefits stand out as driving forces behind improved job satisfaction, confusion surrounding benefits still looms, with more than half feeling like they’re flooded with information about them, to the point where it's overwhelming.
That may be why 73% wish they’d learned about HSAs and how health insurance works before they entered the workforce.
“Selecting benefits and understanding how HDHPs and HSAs work are the last things that should be stressful about anyone’s job,” said Bend Financial co-founder and CEO Tom Torre. “Yet our study shows people often feel bombarded with information surrounding benefits, which can add to their stress and lead to choosing options that might not be the best fit for them short or long term.”
To better understand health benefits, most respondents consulted their parents (43%) and co-workers (42%), while only 31% reached out to HR representatives.
Respondents also shared various knowledge gaps regarding their health benefits. Of the 871 who knew what an HDHP and HSA are, more than one in five incorrectly stated that HSAs don’t stay with you if you lose your job/insurance coverage.
And of those currently utilizing an HSA, 62% cited lack of HSA information and knowledge as the biggest challenge they faced when opening and beginning to use their account.
“Forty-six percent of respondents who were offered an HDHP/HSA option chose to stick with a traditional health plan because they didn’t receive enough information on what HDHPs and HSAs are and how they work,” Torre added. “With employees continuing to shoulder more of the costs surrounding their healthcare, employers and HSA providers need to work together to provide clear, comprehensive educational tools and resources to help employees feel confident in making the best benefit choices.”
WHAT DO EMPLOYEES WANT TO KEEP FROM FEELING STUCK?
- Increased salary (64%)
- Better health benefits (50%)
- Better work/life balance (46%)
- Better employer HSA/401(k)/403(b) contribution (41%)
- Tuition assistance (25%)
About Bend Financial
Bend Financial helps accountholders and partners improve their financial wellness through a next-generation health savings account (HSA) platform and complementary financial solutions, while providing employers, brokers and financial institutions of all types and sizes unique, leading-edge benefit offerings. Headquartered in Boston, Bend’s forward-thinking, user-friendly approach simplifies health care saving and offers real-time, personalized guidance that makes it easy for anyone to maximize their HSA. For more information, visit bendhsa.com, read Bend’s blog and follow Bend on Twitter and LinkedIn.