Vitori Health

May 21, 2024

2 min

Everyone struggles with finances occasionally, but those with medical debt bear a heavier burden than most. KFF, an independent source for health policy research, reports that “People with medical debt are much more likely than those without such debt to show other signs of financial vulnerability.”

This often takes the form of carrying high credit card balances and having no extra cash on hand to meet unexpected expenses.

The financial worries from “just getting by” create considerable stress and potential mental health issues that can impact both personal and professional responsibilities. To meet current financial obligations, the study found that those with medical debt are more likely to seek short-term funds from costly sources such as payday loans and pawn shops. Individuals also risk future insolvency by withdrawing needed funds from retirement accounts.

Delaying Treatment: Strategy or Tragedy?

Many individuals attempt to stabilize medical expenses by delaying or forgoing needed care, sometimes with life-threatening implications.

Yet another study reveals that:

“Forty percent of Americans admit they have delayed care due to costs, while one in six say their work has suffered due to a health issue they couldn’t afford to address.“

Impact on Job Performance

There is a clear connection between an employee’s mental health and their job performance. Although this finding reflects the perspectives of younger employees, it no doubt applies to all generations experiencing financial insecurity:

“More than 30% of Gen Z and millennials say their personal financial worries have been a distraction at work. More financial education can help workers address their financial challenges, reduce stress and improve focus and productivity.”

Employers can reduce medical financial stressors that negatively affect job and business performance and improve employee satisfaction and retention. By passing along the significant savings that a modern health plan can deliver, plan sponsors can provide better benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs for employees and their families. This includes low or no-cost plan features including surgeries, prescription drugs, and mental health telemedicine.

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