Even if your company is offering an amazing array of health benefits, your employees might not be going to the doctor as much as they should be in order to keep their health in check. One of the reasons people might be more nervous to go to the doctor is because of the increase of high deductible health plans. The portion of workers with annual deductibles— what consumers must pay before insurance kicks in— rose from 55% eight years ago to 80%, according to research from 2014 by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And a Mercer study showed that 2014 saw the largest one-year increase in enrollment in “high-deductible plans”— from 18% to 23% of all covered employees.
Meanwhile, the size of the average deductible more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217 for individual coverage. Add to this co-pays, co-insurance and the price of drugs or procedures not covered by plans— and it’s way too much for many employees to even consider going to the doctor. This increase in high deductible plans is part of a movement towards what’s come to be termed “consumer-driven health care.”
The thought behind “consumer-driven health care” is that when patients are more aware of healthcare costs and realize what kind of care they really need, they will be more discerning in their usage of healthcare, which in theory lowers costs for everyone involved. Two-thirds of large employers think consumer-driven healthcare is one of the most effective tactics to reduce costs, according to the National Business Group on Health. However, Gallup found that more Americans are skimping on care that they think they really do need. According to the survey, 22% of Americans say they’ve put off treatment for a serious condition, vs. 19% last year. The percentage of Americans who say they put off care for a non-serious condition stayed flat at 11%.
Another reason that employees are avoiding the doctor is that they’re simply too nervous to go. Even after worrying about the cost of going to the doctor, some people are just too scared to go and would prefer to remain blissfully oblivious about any health problems they may have. Additionally, men are less likely to go to the doctor for preventative care in general because they don’t want to be perceived as “weak” and want to seem more self-reliant.
As you can see, there are several barriers in place that make employees want to avoid going to the doctor. Employers have a responsibility to provide a good healthcare solution to their employees and to encourage them to take care of themselves. Finding a solution to increasing healthcare costs will lead to everyone benefitting in the long run.