Employees Want More Dental Benefit Information

July 28, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A MetLife survey of 500 employees who receive dental benefits through their employer finds that employees feel they do not get sufficient information about their dental benefits.

When asked which sources of information about their dental plans are available to them, no single source was reported by more than 40% of employees surveyed. According to a MetLife report, 39% of respondents said information is available to them via written communications and emails from their employers; 37% said information is available through their HR or benefits rep; 36% said a carrier Web site; and 30% said an employer Web site.

Forty-four percent said they prefer to get information via the Web.

When asked about their satisfaction with the information they currently have, employees reported only moderate satisfaction. In fact, only 35% reported being “extremely satisfied” with the information about procedures covered, 35% with number of visits/procedures allowed, and 29% with procedures not covered/limitations, the report said.

Only about one in three employees feel they have the information they need about their coverage or to help them select a plan, and one in five said they have “no idea” what is and what is not covered.

While in general, the information employees desire is basic coverage details – 72% of employees reported plan benefit information to be the most important information.

The survey found a correspondence between benefits knowledge and satisfaction. Seventy percent of employees who are satisfied with their benefits believe their benefit communications educate effectively, compared to 7% who do not believe their benefit communications educate effectively. Participants who report having an excellent understanding of their dental plan benefits are three times more likely to be very satisfied with their plan overall than those with a fair or poor understanding (53% vs. 17% very satisfied).

Sixty-eight percent of employees who say benefits offered is an important reason for remaining with their company believe their benefit communications educate effectively, compared to 21% who do not believe their benefit communications educate effectively.

MetLife found that employees spend, on average, 25 minutes when making initial enrollment decisions, but only 5 minutes making re-enrollment decisions. Most employees (62%) indicated they do not use any information sources to help them make decisions at re-enrollment; however, at the time of initial enrollment, 73% of employees use one or more sources of information.

The MetLife report, Elevating the Value of Dental Benefits Through Employee Communications , is here .