Employees Cutting Retirement Plan Savings Due to Health Care Costs

Many employees experiencing health care cost increases decreased contributions to retirement plans, the Employee Benefit Research Institute finds.

More than one-half of all workers say they are not satisfied with the U.S. health care system as a whole, but are considerably more positive about their own health plan, new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) suggests.

According to the 2016 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) conducted by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates, 60% of American workers rate the nation’s health care system as poor or fair. Just 15% rate it as good or excellent.

Cost is driving factor in dissatisfaction with the overall health care system. Half of all workers report having experienced a health care cost increase in the past year, down from 61% in 2013. Those experiencing an increase are changing the way they use the health care system, such as trying to take better care of themselves, choosing generic drugs, or delaying going to the doctor.

However, in addition, of the workers reporting cost increases in their plans in the past year, 28% state they have decreased their contributions to retirement plans, and one-half (48%) have decreased their contributions to other savings as a result.

Despite dissatisfaction with the health care system overall, EBRI finds workers tend to be more favorable about their own health plans. One-half of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied with their coverage, while only 12% are not satisfied with their current health plan.

More findings are in the October EBRI Notes, online at www.ebri.org.