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Toy men looking at dotted lines on paper Health insurance should highlight quality and value so individuals can choose more effective, efficient paths to health. (Image: Shutterstock)

Sixty-two percent of employers feel “extreme responsibility” for their employees’ financial wellness—a big jump from 13% in 2013, according to Bank of America’s 2020 Workplace Benefits Report. And they should. A 2017 IBM Watson Health research brief found that employees experiencing financial distress were less likely to utilize preventive health care, and were more likely to have higher rates of the most serious and expensive health conditions. The result is higher health care costs for both employers and employees.

Health insurance is one of the benefits employees value most. But if they skip or delay medical care because of a high deductible or fear of unknown costs, how much of a benefit is it? Even for those with insurance, the current health care system forces us to make choices in the dark. We aren’t routinely offered a range of treatment options, nor accurate and fully transparent pricing. It is no wonder that many people find obtaining and paying for health care stressful.

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