The High Cost of Risk Aversion

Thanks to federal legislation making healthcare costs rise for everyone, there is a bigger affordability gap than ever in healthcare. As a result, many corporations are noting that their employees are opting to avoid risks more than they did previously because they fear having to pay for treatment if they get hurt or become sick. That may seem like a good thing on its face, because it implies that fewer people are jumping out of planes and doing things that most of us consider highly risky. But risk aversion is much more than that. In some cases, people are becoming unenthusiastic about healthy activities, simply to avoid the risk involved. Those risks include:

Exercising. “I can’t afford for my knee to go out,” or “my back can’t handle it, and I can’t handle the co-pay if it acts up” are common healthcare cost excuses for avoiding exercise. That means fewer walks, jogs and trips to the gym – and more pounds packed on, thereby exacerbating the problem.

Going outdoors. With summer approaching, many people have sun exposure risks on their minds. Although they know, logically, that applying sunscreen can minimize their skin cancer risks, some people in our hyper-cautious culture are leery of going outside at all – and they pass that fear along to their children. It may or may not be cost related, but it’s a fear that has many people cutting back on the healthy practice of enjoying the sunshine.

Swimming. This is another summer activity that has been on the decline in recent years. Some of it is safety, but much of it is also connected to healthcare costs. “I can’t afford for my child to get an ear infection” is a common excuse among today’s parents when it comes to keeping kids out of the pool. It’s a shame, and it has only aggravated the childhood obesity epidemic.

Employers can encourage healthier habits among their employees by implementing a company healthcare plan that keeps premiums and deductibles low while still providing great coverage and a wide range of providers in the local area. That’s what direct contracting is all about. Ask us for a complimentary health plan analysis to learn more.

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