HSA Account Because people focuson short-term rather than long-term expenses, consumers who doparticipate in an HSA cap their contributions lower than theyshould. (Photo: Getty)

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Anxiety takes on many forms and is a result of many potentialreasons. But the escalating cost of health care is one of the mostimpactful elements affecting stress.

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The WEX Health's “Paying for Healthcare in America: Challenges,Missed Opportunities & What We Can Do” research reportstates that more than a quarter of Americans have had greateranxiety about health care expenses over the past year. Notsurprisingly, out-of-pocket expenses hit low-to-moderateincome households the hardest and caused them the most anxiety.

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Related: Employer-based health care hits poorer Americans'paychecks hardest

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The report says there are solutions to such issues.Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), comprised ofa HDHP and a medical savings account can help giveconsumers “skin in the game,” says the report. WEX Healthsays that during focus groups, it found that financial disciplineand feelings of financial security are key markers of CDHPusers, while non-users only aspire to these feelings.

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The report also found that:

  • 20 percent of Americans feel financially secure
  • 25 percent would last less than four weeks if forcedto live only off the money they have readily available
  • 27 percent of workers report that their anxiety overhealthcare expenses has grown worse since last year; and
  • 24 percent of workers say forgoing healthcare serviceshas impacted their productivity or engagement at work

Because people focus on short-term rather than long-termexpenses, the report finds that consumers who do participate in anHSA cap their contributions lower than they should.

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Education and “delivering relatable messages that focus more onpeople's hearts than on their heads and breaking the jargon-filled,one-and-done open enrollment packets into small bites addressingspecific needs” is a key takeaway the report concludes at how bestto educate and re-inform consumers of the importance of saving forimportant life events.

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