Years ago I was involved in a acquisition and part of my job was to explain the new benefits program to workers of the acquired company. When I reviewed the payroll deduction for health benefits there was a near riot from the audience. They were incensed at the amount of the deduction … until the previous owner stood up and said, ” hey guys, don’t you realize you now pay 100% of our premium and this is a lot less?”
Fact is, they had no clue what was currently being deducted from their pay. That’s the way it is with survey responses too; no clue, misunderstanding the question or simply saying what one thinks should be the answer. And yet, many of those survey results become the driver of political rhetoric and even public policy. Further, we tend to accept the results and never question why an answer may be as it is or even the probable logic behind a response.
🤑 As the annual IRS filing deadline of April 15 approaches, just 17% believe their own taxes will go down, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll found. By contrast, 28% believe they’ll pay more, 27% expect to pay about the same and 28% don’t know enough to say. Fact is, about 80% of taxpayers paid less in taxes albeit some saved little.
🤑 As Social Security Administration research shows, many workers who are actually participating in a plan tell surveys that they’re not. This isn’t unexpected: “behavioral economics” research finds that employees don’t pay much attention to their employer’s retirement plan offerings, so it shouldn’t be surprising that many employees answer even simple questions incorrectly.
Want proof? According Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey (CPS) data, 30% of New Jersey state government employees aren’t offered a retirement plan. In fact, the state offers a pension to all its employees. CPS figures also claim that only 69% of federal employees are offered a retirement plan, when 100% actually are. These CPS retirement coverage figures for public sector employees are obviously wrong, and there is no reason to assume that CPS data for private sector workers are any more accurate.
🤑 A CareerBuilder survey found that 78% of U.S. workers are living paycheck to paycheck. Nobody even knows what that means, nor does it make any sense unless we know exactly how money is spent. You can live that way on $30,000 or $300,000 income.
🤑 40% of Americans say they can’t come up with $400 according to a Federal Reserve Board survey (Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households) of 12,000 people. At the same time 74% in the survey say they are okay financially, a number higher than four years ago. Let’s summarize; 74% are doing okay, but don’t have $400 while at the same time 78% are living paycheck to paycheck.😱
🤑 And the there are surveys about healthcare. “One quarter of Americans say either they or someone in their family has skipped necessary medical care because of the cost, a Bankrate Money Pulse survey finds. And more than half worry about not being able to afford health insurance.”. The real question is what people don’t skip spending money on that causes them to skip medical care. Would a reasonable person really skip necessary medical care when many of these people rack up credit card debt on non-necessities?
🤑 In a Consumer Reports survey, the vast majority (74%) of regular users of prescription meds who pay more now say they did not receive any notification in advance that their costs might go up. That’s nonsense. The more likely truth is they never paid attention to the communication they received.
No survey about health care costs is accurate because (1) for most people no amount of spending their own money on health care is “affordable” and (2) many people don’t differentiate between premiums and actual costs for care they receive.
The recent publicity surrounding insulin provides a good example.
🤑 Researchers of a new study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine surveyed patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who had insulin prescribed to them within a 6-month window. Out of 191 patients who completed the survey, 51 reported cost-related insulin underuse, resulting in 1 in 4 patients experiencing cost-related insulin underuse that is associated with poor glycemic control.
Asking 191 patients is a study worthy of headlines?
If you are low income and do not have have health insurance, any spending on health care will be a burden, but that is the exception and even then many alternatives to obtaining care and prescriptions are available.
🤑 Among covered workers in plans with three or more tiers of cost sharing for prescription drugs, the average copayments are $11 for first-tier drugs, $33 second-tier drugs, $59 for third-tier drugs, and $110 for fourth-tier drugs. https://www.kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2017-section-9-prescription-drug-benefits/
Yes, the cost of insulin has in increased significantly, perhaps unjustly, but not equally among all brands and those increases have been borne more by the health plans than by patients who are protected by discounted pricing and Co-payments and co-insurance. The full story never makes the press.
🤑 64% of high-deductible plans used the preventive drug list recommended by Express Scripts which includes first-dollar coverage of insulin
16.9% of total insulin costs were paid by patients in 2018, with an average price of $43.19 per adjusted Rx. Source: https://my.express-scripts.com/rs/809-VGG-836/images/Express%20Scripts%202018%20Drug%20Trend%20Report.pdf