To hear that numerous Americans are burdened by healthcare costs isn’t exactly news. But a new report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch highlights just how severe the situation has gotten. For one thing, 79% of employees saw their healthcare costs climb in 2016, up from 69% in 2015.
But it’s not just that healthcare expenses are rising; they’re also impacting workers who can’t keep up. A good 56% of people who saw their costs increase last year say their financial goals — namely, saving for retirement and paying off debt — are now suffering. And though not nearly as critical, two-thirds of workers whose healthcare costs went up have been forced to cut back on leisure.
All told, more than 50% of workers not only feel stressed about their finances, but cite rising healthcare costs as a major contributing factor. If you’re one of them, here are a few options that might help alleviate the burden.
1. Fund an FSA
A flexible spending account, or FSA, helps you lower your healthcare costs by allowing you to pay for them with pre-tax dollars. For the current tax year, you can put up to $2,600 in an FSA, and then use that money for qualified expenses like medications, in-office copays, and prescription eyewear.