More than one in four (28%) LGBT employees overall, and one-third (35%) of those currently married or in a domestic partnership, have either reevaluated their workplace benefits, enrolled in a new benefit, or increased their contribution to an existing benefit as a result of the marriage equality ruling last year, according the first segment of results from Lincoln Financial Group’s 2016 M.O.O.D (Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction) of America on Employee Benefits study.
LGBT enrollments in non-medical coverage—such as life, dental, and disability insurance—show the highest levels of change as a result of the ruling. Fourteen percent of LGBT employees who are married or in a domestic partnership have enrolled in a new non-medical insurance plan. Eleven percent have enrolled in a new health insurance plan, and 7% have either enrolled in a new retirement plan or increased contributions to their current plan.
“These employees are looking at the big picture. They’re not just thinking about the most familiar benefits, such as medical insurance,” says Eric Reisenwitz, head of product and operations for Lincoln’s group benefits business. “As a result of the ruling, LGBT employees are reevaluating ancillary coverages that can help protect themselves and their families—for example, disability and life insurance. These types of benefits help employees prepare for the unexpected, giving them a better sense of overall security and financial well-being.”
Although many LGBT employees are taking action in response to the ruling, not all are aware of its implications to their benefits. Fifty percent of all LGBT employees and nearly 40% of those who are married or in a domestic partnership are not aware of ways in which the marriage equality ruling affects their workplace benefits.
“Many LGBT employees are engaged and taking action with their benefits, which is great to see,” says Lisa Buckingham, chief human resources officer at Lincoln Financial Group. “However, there’s still room for employers to boost these numbers. When we have a major legal change like this, employers need to proactively educate their employees on its effects. If we can help an even greater percentage of LGBT employees understand the ruling’s implications, they will be able to truly get the most value out of their benefits packages and take charge of their financial futures.”
Lincoln Financial’s larger M.O.O.D. study is slated to launch in August.