As a relatively new entrant into the workforce, I feel confident expressing that there are opportunities for improvement when it comes to benefit plans and the consideration and impact on current and future generations – specifically, health plans. (And of course, I feel confident expressing myself. As a millennial, I’ve been told that I’m allowed to express myself anytime, anywhere.)
Everyone is bound to require medical care and services. And yet, the majority of health plans offered to me don’t actually provide benefit to me. They punish me. It doesn’t add up – the extra premium I pay doesn’t benefit me, but rather benefits those individuals in the plan who are ill and need to get healthy. I don’t resent those individuals. I just want it to be fair. I just want everyone to be a winner ;).
I’ve been working in the healthcare industry for a short period of time, but it’s clear that the impending doom of year over year price increases ad infinitum has us on the path to a breaking point. I know, with a pretty high degree of confidence, that unless a radical change occurs within employer-sponsored health insurance, millennials and Gen Z are going to be drowning in future healthcare costs without a financial life preserver. Rising healthcare costs and price increases continue to outpace wage and GDP growth, leaving us with less money to spend today and invest for tomorrow. We can’t let the healthcare costs rob of us our future.
82% of employees perceive medical costs as their biggest challenge today and in retirement. And I can guarantee that this number will not decrease. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and we can change it. We must take full advantage of the tools and mechanisms available to adequately prepare millennials and empower boomer employees for this future cost burden. It’s time that employers take us into account when deciding health plan designs.
Which brings me to my next point. And I hope HR leaders are still reading. Financial wellness is universally essential. It is a critical consideration for boomers as they march towards retirement. It is and will continue to be a crucial consideration for millennials as we grow in our careers. It’ll not only impact the companies we decide to join (or leave), but also our ability to be productive, to save for the future, and to live happy, healthy lives.
Besides compensation and 401k, healthcare costs, and how those are handled, is a huge consideration for employees and their financial wellness. And, to put it simply, we need HSAs. HSAs are the perfect weapon to manage medical costs today, save for future expenses and promote financial wellness. And they’re portable and triple-tax advantaged! Tell that to an uninformed employee and they’ll just agree that it sounds great. Now that’s a great employee benefit!
We all at least need the option to choose an HSA. And we need to shout this until we’re heard. During enrollment feedback. During employee benefits surveys. Because we want convenience. Because we want control. Because we want simplicity.
The traditional healthcare behemoth that sucks massive premiums from our paychecks for the care we never use needs to be upended. We can’t hesitate to shop around for medical care to maximize value. Or, question authority regarding physicians and cost. We can’t be beholden to PCPs or specialists we’ve been referred to just because they’re in the same “network.” Do we need to go to the hospital when a MinuteClinic will do?
Together, boomers and millennials have an opportunity to take control of the healthcare market. To no longer be victimized by carriers or providers. But we can’t wait. HR leaders now have to equip employees with the tools and education to confidently go forth into the healthcare market and make the best decision possible. That starts with an HSA and outlining the real power of that account.
So, let’s improve health plans for everyone. Let’s provide everyone who wants an HSA, with an HSA. Let’s educate everyone on the power of an HSA. We can no longer cower in fear when we hear the term High-Deductible Health Plan. That’s not a bad thing when you have an HSA and a healthcare system navigation platform! Boomer and millennial employees can collaborate to turn the tide of the rising healthcare costs wave.
By Matthew McCormick