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During open enrollment, misconceptions abound; providing ‘study tips’ can help
Employees are confused and stressed out by the health-benefits selection process, a new survey report reveals.
Often, "employees aren't getting enough from their current benefits communication to be fully empowered to make smart decisions," said Amanda Lannert, CEO of benefits IT firm Jellyvision, which sponsored the survey.
For tips on helping employees make the best choices of benefits during open enrollment, check out the SHRM resources provided below:
The poll was conducted in April among 2,105 employees currently receiving health care through their employer. As presented in the survey report,
What Your Employees Think About Your Benefits Communication, among those whose companies offer health insurance:
While most employees feel confident about health insurance details like the size of their deductibles (73 percent), only about half know their out-of-pocket maximums (53 percent) or their employer's contributions (47 percent).
"The focus on deductible totals versus the total health plan cost may have many employees either making the wrong health plan decision for their situations or making the right decision while thinking it's the wrong one," Lannert said. "If employers can better communicate that, they'll have a happier—and healthier—workforce."
Understand Communications Preferences
In other survey findings:
Provide 'Study' Tips
"Statistics show that
46 percent of Americans take less than 30 minutes to make benefits decisions, and in that brief time, 89 percent of people choose the same plans as the year before," said Jennifer Benz, CEO of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based communications firm, citing research by benefits provider Aflac.
Benz recommends providing employees with
four tips as part of "open enrollment school":
Engage Young Workers
"Employees of all ages know far less about benefits than their HR departments do, and far less than their HR departments think they know," said Jeff Bakke, chief strategy officer at Minneapolis-based WEX Health, a cloud-based health care financial management platform. "Most employees still believe that benefits enrollment is something that management is offering for the sake of the company instead of for the workers. Change the conversation and remind employees what they are getting, how much it's worth and why they need to own their benefits decisions."
Meet employees, especially Millennial and younger workers in Generation Z, where they are most comfortable—on their devices, Bakke advised. "While more than a few employers are still trying to make the jump from paper to online—they're too late!—the biggest and fastest growing segment of the workforce wants to do things on their smartphone and other devices. Wearables, apps, social media, online support—these are all familiar tools and modes of communication for younger workers, so bringing these capabilities to the forefront of your benefits communications will help to engage them" in the benefits-selection process.
SHRM Resource Page:
Guide to Benefits Open Enrollment Season,
SHRM Online Benefits, September 2016
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