Many U.S. employees are experiencing "financial fragility," according to the "2023-2024 Aflac WorkForces Report," which examines employer and employee benefits trends and attitudes.

The survey of 1,200 employers and 2,000 employees revealed that a full 50% of workers say they would not be able to afford more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for an unexpected medical event. What's more, 27% would be unable to afford a $500 expense. No wonder, the report notes, that "Americans are increasingly turning to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to support not just their medical bills, but also the secondary day-to-day costs related to being sick and needing to take time off work. In fact, GoFundMe hosts more than 250,000 medical fundraisers each year, with health care-related fundraising as one of its largest categories."

While eye-opening, the survey data also serves as a wake-up call for employers, according to Jeri Hawthorne, Aflac's chief human resources officer.

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