Kim Landry, insurance research analyst at LIMRA, says it’s not surprising that more than eight in 10 employees focus on cost information when selecting their benefits during open enrollment.
Seventy-two percent of employees surveyed said they will look at detailed benefit plan descriptions when available. LIMRA asked employees what communications they valued most when selecting their benefits.
In terms of how they want to learn about benefit options, employees are most likely to use printed materials at work (83%) or home (76%). Accessing the information online (70%) and by email (61%) were used slightly less often. “While printed materials may be more effective at capturing their attention, employees we interviewed also liked having access to benefit information online,” says Landry.
Seventy-one percent of employees attend group meetings about benefits when offered. However, employees said they find group meetings less useful than nearly every other form of communication. “Employees express concerns such as discomfort about asking personal questions in a group, too much time devoted to other workers’ questions, and confusion about the material,” says Landry. “Employees said one-on-one meetings were the most useful to them.”
About half of employees surveyed recall having access to decision-support tools to help make choices about their benefits. The tools most often used allow employees to make side-by-side comparisons and calculate costs or insurance needs. Other, more interactive tools offer tailored recommendations based on questions that employees answer. “Employees told us these interactive tools were the most useful to them,” says Landry.
Because employees are likely to have benefit questions at any point during the enrollment period, they want a place to go for answers. Most cited assistance from HR staff or a phone number to call as important resources for their questions. Landry says employees who have these resources available are more likely to feel confident in their benefit selections.
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