Research Paper

Preventing Medical Debt: Recommendations for Employers

This report shines a light on employer decisions around health insurance and how those decisions have helped shape the medical debt crisis, explaining specific actions employers should take now to reduce employee financial stress while improving productivity and retention.

Monday, March 28, 2022
 Preventing Medical Debt: Recommendations for Employers

Data Spotlight

56% of U.S. employees with employer-sponsored health insurance
report that liking their health coverage is a key factor in whether to stay at their current job.

26% of adults with employer-sponsored plans
are now considered underinsured.

Almost half of underinsured consumers with medical debt
report issues paying medical bills or medical debt.

Key Recommendations

With input from members of our Stakeholder Advisory Council, the Financial Health Network developed recommended actions and strategies for employers to help prevent medical debt among their workforce. Although each recommendation is effective as a stand-alone, employers can achieve the greatest impact by implementing them all. 

    • Assess health insurance affordability for all employees.
    • Educate employees about the basics of insurance, and explain out-of-pocket expectations upfront.
    • Provide services or benefits that help employees manage health insurance out-of-pocket expenses.
    • Offer insurance plans based on employees’ financial circumstances and healthcare needs.

Opportunities to take action for employers - While many upstream factors contribute to medical debt, this report focuses on interventions that employers can implement to prevent medical debt and its devastating impacts on financial health and health

Explore the Full Series

Systems-Level Overview

Systems-Level Overview

Explore insights into the prevalence of medical debt and its effect on consumers, how medical debt functions as a social determinant of health and driver of health inequities, and opportunities for key players to prevent it.  

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Recommendations for Hospitals and Health Systems

Recommendations for Hospitals and Health Systems

Read about actionable strategies healthcare providers should take now to improve financial assistance and repayment programs, support informed patient decision-making, and proactively identify patients at risk for medical debt to target financial assistance.

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Recommendations for Insurers

Recommendations for Insurers

Discover opportunities insurance providers should seize now to help members navigate plan selection, understand key terminology, reduce out-of-pocket expenses, utilize preventive care, and improve administrative processes that affect customers.

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Our Supporter

Support for this report series was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

More to Explore

Preventing Medical Debt: Recommendations for Insurers

This report shows how the shifting health insurance landscape has helped shape the medical debt crisis, identifying specific actions insurers should take now to boost Americans’ confidence in their coverage and motivate them to pursue timely care that reduces the need for costlier services.

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Written by

  • Michelle Proser
    Senior Director, Healthcare Solutions
    Financial Health Network
  • Uzma Amin
    Manager, Healthcare
    Financial Health Network

Preventing Medical Debt: Recommendations for Employers

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