Two-fifths (40 per cent) of U.S. workers with employer-provided health benefits reported delaying care due to cost, which negatively impacted their mental health, workplace culture and productivity, according to a new survey by research group Nonfiction on behalf of health-care provider Paytient.

The survey, which polled more than 1,500 U.S. workers with health insurance through an employer, found one in six said their work was affected due to a health issue they couldn’t afford to treat — more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of whom admitted to being distracted by pain at work.

Among respondents whose work was impacted by delayed care, nearly a third (31 per cent) said they’ve lied to their employer about what they were doing while dealing with delayed care consequences and 19 per cent noted they’ve had to work two jobs at the same time to make enough money for their health care. Notably, 17 per cent said after delaying care, their treatment for that same issue became more expensive and the same percentage said they’ve left their job to better afford health care.

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Respondents who delayed care due to costs said they couldn’t sleep through the night (24 per cent), couldn’t exercise (17 per cent) or eat the foods they loved (14 per cent), smiled less (14 per cent) and had to stop or give up a hobby (11 per cent). Dealing with delayed care consequences at work also led to them spending less time on core job functions (54 per cent), checking their work (48 per cent), responding to messages (39 per cent), helping a co-worker (35 per cent), working on their goals for the year (33 per cent), preparing for meetings (28 per cent), catching up on industry knowledge (24 per cent), maintaining important relationships for business (22 per cent) and training new employees (17 per cent).

“The results of this study spotlight the invisible insecurity of insured Americans as health insurance alone no longer guarantees access to care,” said Brian Whorley, founder and chief executive officer of Paytient, in a press release. “Bringing this narrative into the national dialogue on health care highlights an opportunity for employers to affordably ensure employees have the security and certainty that they will be able to access and pay for care when they need it.”

Read: Employees with chronic health conditions facing challenges during pandemic: survey