Many executives feel pretty good about the employee benefit packages their companies provide. But, do they know how their employees feel about their benefits and isn’t that more important?
Jellyvision released research based on a survey conducted by Harris Poll which sought to determine what employees thought about their benefits. The findings are valuable to any benefits manager or advisor and will help shed light on what matters most to employees. Let’s start with some findings relating to how benefits are communicated.
How Do Employees Want Their Benefit Communications?
The survey found that 62% of employees prefer to receive benefits information electronically, 54% prefer printed materials, 30% prefer live presentations, 30% value one to one consultations and 21% prefer benefit fairs.
How Much Do Employees Know about Their Health Insurance?
Forty nine percent (49%) of employees surveyed found making health decisions stressful with 20% adding that they often regret the plan choice they made. Not surprisingly, more than half (56%), said they want to receive help from their employers to make the right decisions. To measure their knowledge of their health insurance plan, for example, the survey found that while 7 in 10 said they understand the “finer details of the plan like how much their deductible is,” just 53% knew what their out of pocket maximums were and just 47% knew what their employer’s contributions to their health insurance was.
As for other cost-related questions, 48% of the employees surveyed said they know how much different health care services (e.g., doctor’s visits, trips to the ER, surgeries, prescriptions, etc.) cost, while 59% indicated they know who to contact with their health insurance questions.
When it comes to high deductible health plans (HDHPs), 68% of employees thought they were more expensive than other options and just 1 in 10 surveyed felt that HDHPs provide good coverage. The survey found that this opinion was directly linked to how knowledgeable an employee was about HDHPs. The more knowledgeable employees scored HDHPs higher than those who were less informed or not informed at all about these plans.
Do Employees Want Their Spouses Involved in Their Benefits Decisions?
An interesting finding of the survey was the importance employees placed on having their spouses’ participation in deciding what benefits to get. Seventy four percent (74%) said they believe it was essential or very important to involve their spouses when making a benefit decision and 68% said it was equally for their spouse to understand the benefits their employer offered.
As for the enrollment process their employers used, 4 in 10 employees or 41% felt their employers’ benefits enrollment process was “extremely confusing” which may explain why at least 20% regretted the benefits choices they made.
As for who they ask for help when they have a question about their health insurance plan, 76% said they usually go to the health insurance provider, but 56% would like more help from their employers when choosing a health plan.
By considering this survey’s finding, employers and plan sponsors can think about how to improve their benefits communications, raise their employees’ understanding of their benefits and facilitate a more streamlined enrollment process that encourages employees’ questions and provides knowledgeable professionals onsite to provide good product information.