How a Financial Wellness Program Can Help Employees Manage Healthcare Expenses

Dec 5 / Peter Waitzman

In today's fast-paced world, stress has become a significant concern for employers and employees. The rising healthcare costs associated with stress have made it necessary to address the root cause of the problem. Financial wellness programs have emerged as a powerful tool to combat stress by targeting the number one stressor in America: finances. By helping employees understand and manage their healthcare expenses, these programs can alleviate financial stress and improve overall well-being.

The Link Between Finances, Stress, and Healthcare Costs

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), money is the top stressor for most Americans, with 72% of people reporting financial stress as their primary source of anxiety. This stress takes a toll on both emotional and physical health, causing symptoms such as irritability, lack of energy, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and indigestion. Financial stress even leads to negative lifestyle changes, including sleep deprivation, decreased social interactions, unhealthy eating habits, increased conflicts with significant others, and more frequent illnesses.

The impact of financial stress on healthcare costs is alarming. Stressed employees face healthcare costs 46% higher than those of non-stressed employees. This financial burden often prevents individuals from seeking necessary medical care, with one in five people skipping doctor visits due to financial challenges. The consequences of neglecting healthcare needs can be severe, exacerbating health problems and leading to more significant financial worries in the long run.

The Need for Financial Wellness Programs

Employers are not immune to the effects of financial stress on healthcare costs. A survey revealed that 69% of employers recognize the direct impact of financial challenges on their healthcare expenses. The current trend of soaring healthcare costs is considered unsustainable by many employers. To break the cycle of financial stress and its associated health risks, organizations must address the underlying issue: employees' financial well-being.

Financial wellness programs offer a solution to this problem by providing employees with the knowledge and skills to take control of their finances. These programs aim to build confidence in meeting financial goals and challenges in the present and the future. By promoting a solid financial foundation and fostering positive money management behaviors, financial wellness programs help employees minimize financial stress and improve their overall financial wellness.

Benefits of Financial Wellness Programs

The benefits of implementing a financial wellness program in the workplace are substantial. Employees with access to such programs report worrying less about unexpected financial and health issues. The financial benefits employers provide significantly reduce employees' financial stress, leading to improved well-being.

Research has shown that financial wellness programs can provide a return on investment (ROI) of 3:1 per employee. Employers offering these programs also experience reduced operating costs, with an average of $348 saved per sick day per employee. Moreover, over half of employers have seen an improvement in overall well-being among their workforce, and 41% believe that wellness programs effectively reduce healthcare costs.

Understanding a Financial Wellness Program

A financial wellness program focuses on improving and maintaining financial wellness and general well-being through education, coaching, and ongoing support for money management. These programs offer a multifaceted approach to empowering employees in their financial journey. Some key components of a financial wellness program include:

  1. Education

Employees can attend monthly webinars on various financial topics, gaining valuable insights and knowledge to make informed financial decisions. These webinars cover budgeting, saving, investing, managing debt, and planning for retirement. By equipping employees with financial literacy, they can navigate the complexities of healthcare expenses more effectively.

  1. Coaching

One-on-one coaching sessions with personal Money Coaches are crucial to financial wellness programs. These coaches are experienced financial professionals who provide tailored guidance and support to employees. They help individuals create personalized financial plans, set achievable goals, and develop strategies to manage healthcare expenses within their budgets.

  1. Resources

Financial wellness programs offer access to many resources, including hundreds of financial articles, tools, and calculators. These resources empower employees to continue learning and implementing healthy financial habits at their own pace. These programs ensure long-term success in managing healthcare expenses by providing ongoing support and guidance.

The Positive Impact of Financial Wellness Programs

Financial wellness programs have proven highly effective in reducing stress and improving employees' well-being. Studies have shown that 72% of employees experience decreased financial stress after enrolling in their employer-based financial wellness program. These programs also contribute to increased employee loyalty, with 1 in 2 employees stating that they worry less about unexpected financial and health issues because of their work benefits.

Employers who have implemented financial wellness programs have witnessed significant cost savings. On average, they have seen a reduction of $348 in operating costs per sick day per employee. Additionally, over half of employers have reported an improvement in overall well-being among their workforce, further highlighting the positive impact of these programs on employee health and productivity.


In conclusion, financial wellness programs are critical in assisting employees in understanding and managing healthcare expenses. By addressing the root cause of stress—finances—these programs minimize financial stress and its associated health risks. Through education, coaching, and ongoing support, employees gain the knowledge and skills necessary to take control of their finances and make informed decisions about their healthcare expenses. Employers benefit from reduced healthcare costs, improved employee well-being, and increased productivity. Investing in a financial wellness program is a win-win situation for employers and employees, paving the way for a healthier and more financially secure future.