Use annual enrollment to help your workforce facing financial stress

Here are three relatively simple, low-cost steps you can take to help workers focus on work instead of worrying about their bank balance.

November 15, 2019 | By Ashley Shope – BenefitsPro

It might not quite rank up there with public speaking and going to the dentist, but a lot of America’s workers are pretty anxious about their finances.

In fact, 50 percent of workers experienced stress or anxiety about their finances in the past year, according to a recent Unum poll of 1,512 full-time U.S. employees. Those numbers are even higher among Gen Z (76 percent) and millennial (62 percent) workers. And it’s not only those who are relatively new to the work world and perhaps earning less who say they’re suffering: More than a third of those with a household income of at least $150,000 feel financial anxiety.

Paying the mortgage or rent, paying monthly bills and making credit card payments lead the stress list — but paying for health care isn’t far behind, the survey showed. Nearly one in four workers are worried about out-of-pocket health care costs.

And with good reason. The average health care deductible for single coverage was nearly $1,500 last year, and almost twice that for family coverage. Add in co-pays, coinsurance and other non-covered costs, and an average family has more than $4,700 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year — and that’s not counting the cost of health insurance premiums.

At the same time, most workers don’t have a financial cushion to fall back on. Only 40 percent would use savings to pay an unexpected $1,000 expense, such as a car repair or emergency room visit. Not surprising, then, that two-thirds of all bankruptcies are tied to medical issues.

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