Tax Refunds Enable Healthcare Spending: J.P. Morgan Chase Study

Access to Cash and Healthcare Spending

Research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute sheds light on a critical aspect of healthcare spending in the United States – deferred care.
The study, titled “Deferred Care: How Tax Refunds Enable Healthcare Spending,” provides insightful findings on how cash flow dynamics, examining spending immediately after tax refunds, influence when people can afford healthcare.
The findings highlight a crucial challenge: many delay necessary healthcare due to financial constraints, potentially leading to worsened health outcomes and higher future costs.

Key Findings of the Study

1. Immediate Increase in Healthcare Spending: Following a tax refund, there was a 60% increase in healthcare spending, indicating that many were postponing healthcare until they had sufficient funds.
2. Mode of Payment Matters: The increase was more significant in debit card and electronic payments, not in credit card spending, highlighting that liquidity, not just credit, drives healthcare spending decisions.
3. Impact on In-Person Healthcare Services: A significant portion of the spending increase was directed towards in-person healthcare services, suggesting that people were delaying essential healthcare visits due to cash flow constraints.
4. Deferred Visits and Bills: The study observed increased visits to dentists and doctors and payments of outstanding hospital bills post-refund, confirming the deferment of both healthcare services and bill payments.

Implications for Employers and the Role of medZERO

The findings highlight a crucial challenge: many delay necessary healthcare due to financial constraints, potentially leading to worsened health outcomes and higher future costs. This is where employers can play a transformative role, especially through innovative solutions like medZERO. How medZERO Addresses Deferred Care medZERO, by providing immediate access to funds for healthcare expenses, can be a game-changer in this scenario. It allows employees to access funds instantly for healthcare needs, ensuring that financial constraints do not delay essential care. This can significantly reduce the need for deferred care, improving overall employee health and reducing long-term healthcare costs for both employees and employers. Steps Employers Can Take
1. Implement Innovative Solutions: Integrate tools like medZERO into employee benefits packages to provide immediate access to healthcare funding.
2. Educate Employees: Conduct awareness sessions on the importance of timely healthcare and how tools like medZERO can assist in managing healthcare expenses.
3. Monitor Healthcare Spending Trends: Keep track of how these tools are used and their impact on employee health and healthcare costs, adjusting strategies as needed.
4. Encourage Preventive Care: Promote regular health check-ups and preventive care to reduce the need for more extensive, costly medical interventions later.
5. Customize Solutions Based on Employee Needs: Recognize that each employee’s situation is unique and offer tailored solutions to meet diverse needs.

Conclusion

The JPMorgan Chase Institute study reveals the significant impact of financial constraints on healthcare decisions. By leveraging innovative tools like medZERO, employers can play a crucial role in ensuring that financial limitations do not lead to deferred care, fostering a healthier workforce and a more sustainable healthcare system.  Access the full study here.
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