Financial health is a key to success in life and the intersection of our financial health and our overall health and wellness can have a huge impact on us in the long-term.
With the right tools, you can weather whatever life throws at you, whether it’s medical expenses or a busted water heater. Having healthy finances has been proven to impact your health and wellness because when you have financial security you can focus more on wellness and have less stress in your life.
Cigna did an extensive study of consumers to find out their views on health, well-being and financial security.
The concerns and information shared in the study offer great insights into what consumers consider the most important aspects of managing financial health and wellness. I agreed to work with Cigna because I know health costs are one of the top concerns readers have.
What are the most interesting things to come out of the study?
75% of people fear health costs could jeopardize retirement
As healthcare costs continue to rise, many are concerned about the impact on retirement savings and growth. Paying for health care now may mean it’s tough to save as much as we need for retirement. There’s no magic number, but the more we save and the smarter we are about our managing our healthcare costs the easier it will be to reach retirement comfortably.
44% worry health costs will limit ability to pay for child’s college
Another concern that’s not uncommon, and certainly one I have struggled with personally. The impact of not having insurance can be enormously expensive. Start saving now – for example, health savings and flexible spending accounts let you use tax-free dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses. This will save you money in the long run – which you can put away for retirement or choose to use for a child’s college education. Cigna has other tips for managing health costs and keeping more dollars in your wallet here.
More than 50% of consumers spend one hour or less picking a health plan.
Managing your healthcare costs starts with doing your research. While you may only have a few options if you get health insurance through your employer, take the time to review all the plans to determine which one is right for your family. Spending some time researching upfront may reduce your overall costs significantly.
83% of consumers are taking steps to improve their health.
It’s encouraging news that over 80% of consumers are motivated to do better. They’re motivated by things such as; cash rewards, health insurance premium discounts, and positive reinforcement as ways to help them achieve their goals. Some consumers are also receptive to using online tools, mobile apps and support groups to help them stay on track.
Consumers would also consider different types of insurance coverage or programs beyond their medical plans to provide financial protection.
Through it all, consumers take a holistic view of their health, defining it as their physical, emotional and financial wellness in total.
Let’s dig into the study results further.
Defining Health & Wellness
Before we can discuss how to improve our health, we need to define what our health and wellness is.
While health and wellness is top of everyone’s priorities when it comes to healthcare, how we measure health and wellness is vastly different. Most consumers said that all aspects of health and wellness were important to them, with many also mentioning the absence of sickness as a measure of health and wellness.
Healthy Living for Less
Not only do out of pocket costs add up, but there’s also a concern that healthy choices cost more. You may feel like you don’t have enough time to plan meals, exercise, and cook healthy foods, much less take time for doctor’s appointments.
It may feel that way but in my experience I’ve found that getting and staying fit doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Costs Vary Widely
Costs and how those costs fit into our overall budgets are nearly split between consumers. Some equate their health care costs to a car or mortgage payment, while others compared payments to their monthly internet, TV, or phone bill.
Shopping Around and Planning can Reduce Costs
By shopping around for prescriptions, health care services, and even your health plan, you can reduce your healthcare costs significantly.
Budgeting also plays a big role in feeling financially secure.. There are a variety of options available to help you budget for healthcare, including online tools your health insurer already offers to Flexible Spending Accounts.
What do we want from insurance companies?
It’s clear that consumers want help from their health plan. Most commonly this is in the form of paying medical claims, managing costs, and helping navigate the health system. Providing financial protection isalso high on the list.
More reading and videos to help you make informed choices about health care:
Understand Your Benefits video:
Know Your Budget video:
Disclosure: This is a sponsored by Cigna. All opinions are my own. Cigna is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security.