Employees are still not financially prepared for unexpected medical expenses.

New York Life  |  March 8, 2024

New York Life Survey shows 57% of insured adults have delayed medical treatment, citing concerns around cost as top reason.

NEW YORK - A recent survey conducted by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (NYL GBS) among U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health insurance shows that many feel financially unprepared to handle medical costs. This financial burden has led some to delay care as a result, underscoring a widespread need for additional financial protection solutions.

Survey participants reported notable concerns when it comes to their ability to manage healthcare expenses. A substantial 72% of respondents expressed a desire for lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, reflecting the broader sentiment that healthcare costs are increasingly becoming a financial burden.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Growing Concern Over Increasing Expenses: Half of adults surveyed said they are covering more out-of-pocket costs now than in the past.
  • Delay in Medical Treatment Due to Costs: 57% of adults surveyed said they have delayed medical treatment with concerns around their ability to pay for medical expenses being the top reason. Of note, 70% of millennials reported delaying medical treatment, with concerns around their ability to pay being the leading reason.
  • Lack of Preparedness: 4-in-10 adults (41%) do not feel prepared to face an unexpected out-of-pocket medical expense. While almost 7-in-10 men (69%) feel prepared to face an out-of-pocket medical cost, in contrast, less than half of women (49%) feel the same way.
  • Unexpected Healthcare Costs are Placing Many Deeper in Debt: 44% of adults say they would have to take on additional debt to cover an unexpected medical cost, primarily using credit cards (44%) and payment plans (46%).
  • Confusion Around Existing Medical Coverage: 1-in-3 adults do not fully understand what their health insurance plan covers, indicating a need for improved educational resources on the specifics of medical coverage and assistance selecting benefits that can help fill gaps in coverage.

To help employees shoulder out-of-pocket healthcare costs and bridge gaps in medical coverage, NYL GBS recently launched a new suite of voluntary benefits designed to help provide additional financial protection against unforeseen medical expenses. This portfolio includes accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance plans that can easily be offered through the workplace and pay employees lump sum benefits through a simple and fast claims process.

“In working with employers there’s been an increased focus on employees’ financial wellbeing. Unfortunately, our latest research shows that the needle hasn’t been moved when it comes to unexpected healthcare costs,’’ said Meghan Shea, Vice President and Head of Strategy and Solutions at New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. ‘’The survey highlights a critical gap in financial preparedness among employed adults in the face of growing healthcare costs, and it’s clear that many would like help bridging costs that are not covered by their health insurance plans. That’s why we designed our new voluntary benefit offerings which aim to help close this gap, offering additional financial protection against out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.” 

New York Life created an infographic to help employers understand the survey findings. It offers insights and recommendations for improving transparency and education about plan coverage. View the infographic here.

For more information about New York Life’s new voluntary benefits, please visit New York Life GBS Voluntary Benefits.



This poll was conducted between September 29 – October 5, 2023 by Morning Consult among a sample of 1,996 adults who are currently employed in the private or government sector, receive health insurance through their employer or union or a spouse’s employer or union, and are a decision-maker when signing up for healthcare coverage. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.


New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (www.newyorklife.com/group-benefit-solutions) is a division of New York Life Insurance Company (www.newyorklife.com), a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, the largest mutual life insurance company1 in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments, and long-term care insurance. New York Life has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies.2 New York Life Group Benefit Solutions leverages New York Life's extensive resources and industry-leading expertise to provide a tailored, supportive, and connected benefits experience. New York Life Group Benefit Solutions provides a range of insurance products and services tailored to meet the needs of businesses and their employees, including several leave management products under the New York Life Absence AssistSM product suite, Life and AD&D Insurance, and Voluntary Benefits.

New York Life Group Benefit Solutions products and services are provided by Life Insurance Company of North America, New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY, and New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation, subsidiaries of New York Life Insurance Company. Life Insurance Company of North America is not authorized in NY and does not conduct business in NY. Product availability may vary by state and is subject to change. Voluntary benefit products are not available in New York.

Accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and hospital indemnity insurance are limited benefit policies. Accident insurance pays benefits for accidents only. These products are not health care insurance and do not satisfy the requirement of minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. New York Life Group Benefit Solutions Accident insurance, Critical Illness insurance, and Hospital Indemnity insurance are underwritten by New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation, a subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company. Policy provisions and product availability may vary by state. Policy forms: Accident: GBS-AI-1000.00; Critical illness: GBS-CI-1000.00; Hospital indemnity: GBS-HI-1000.00.

1 Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/5/2023. For methodology, please see http://fortune.com/fortune500/.

2 Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 11/17/2023: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).

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Media contact

Allison Scott
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4517

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