Health Care Spending Down
With wages flat, more U.S. workers are cutting corners on health care to save money, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt.
Only 19 percent of more than 2,400 employees surveyed across the nation said they're willing to pay higher premiums in order to keep deductibles and co-payments lower and more predictable, the Virginia-based global consulting firm reported this week. That's down from 38 percent last year.
By contrast, 17 percent said they've skipped a doctor's visit or didn't fill a prescription in the past year to cut costs, the survey found.
According to Cathy Tripp, the firm's head of consumerism, compromising care to reduce spending could lead to even higher health care costs down the road.
"There are a number of behaviors that, if embraced today, will lead to substantial health cost savings in the long term," Tripp said in statement.
The survey also found that higher health-care costs are taking a toll on the long-term financial security of many workers. A fifth of respondents said health-care costs have reduced their ability to save for retirement, while 11 percent said their personal savings have been depleted.