07/21/2014 03:53 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2014

Take Control of Your Health Care Costs

Following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many employers have seen their health care costs rise. Our new report, "2014 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA's Impact," shows some will pass those new costs onto their staff.

They may already be doing this by increasing your out-of-pocket limits, premium costs and in-network deductibles. Some smaller employers, with 50 or fewer staff, have also reduced hours, frozen pay, or kept positions vacant.

Just as an employer's bottom line has been impacted by ACA, over time this can also impact an employee's bottom line.

But there is something you, as an employee, can do. Ultimately, you're in charge of taking control of your own financial and physical health. And there are plenty of opportunities to trim down that health care bill. For example:

  • Get smart. Ask your employer questions about your eligibility in their plan, the exchanges and how the law will have an impact on your coverage. Use their answers and additional research to determine the best course of action for your health care needs.
  • Take advantage of employer wellness programs like flu shots, health screenings and weight management programs. Being proactive about your health now could prevent future issues, both physical and financial, down the road. It could save you and your employer money in the long term.
  • If premiums and copayments have changed as a result of ACA implementation, make a new budget to reflect these changes to ensure that you'll have the funds available to cover your expenses if and when you need it.

It's important to remember, you don't have to go it alone. Employers are getting creative in finding ways to cut costs, using wellness programs and effective workplace communications. Our report, "2014 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA's Impact," found:

  • Nearly one in five organizations has adopted or expanded wellness initiatives due to ACA, and another 22 percent plan on doing so in the next 12 months.
  • More than one in ten organizations has already begun offering the increased wellness incentives allowed by ACA this year, and an additional two in five are considering doing so.
  • Employers are using enrollment materials, e-mails, company websites, special meetings and written communication pieces to communicate with employees about ACA.

Get smart on ACA. Work with your employer to better understand how the law can impact you and your financial wellbeing.

About the author: Julie Stich, CEBS, is the Director of Research for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, a non-lobbying educational association for those who work with employee benefits. Julie is responsible for the Foundation's original research initiatives and is an expert on benefit trends.

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