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Survey: Employees Need Help Understanding Their Health Benefits

Survey: Employees Need Help Understanding Their Health Benefits

When it comes to health insurance, employees don't always understand what is available to them. They often don't even understand the benefits they select and wish someone would help them make those decisions. 

So how do organizations better understand the disconnect, and what should they do to improve communications? Continue reading to find out now.


Why Are Employees So Confused About Their Health Benefits?

A recent Health Insurance Knowledge Snapshot survey shows a direct relationship between employees, benefits comprehension, and retention. This survey of over 1,000 American employees found that many had more difficulty understanding the benefits themselves than understanding the enrollment process.

This survey highlights a broad lack of understanding by most employees regarding essential health insurance benefits. 54% of American workers said they didn't understand what benefits were included in their current health plan. 72% of surveyed employees expressed a desire for assistance in selecting the best plan for their individual needs. 

The primary concern is that employees don’t know who to talk to about their benefits. And often, this uncertainty leads to choosing the same coverage year after year, despite potentially better options available. In fact, 62% of employees choose the same plans each year due to the process being overwhelming and stressful. An employee's lack of understanding can also lead to reservations about asking for help for fear of resentment. This can nullify the efforts of employers to improve benefits every year. 

44% of employees said they would feel uncomfortable seeking HR assistance during enrollment, and 47% said they would reach out to family or friends should they have any questions. This means employers and HR departments are not doing enough to create clear communication procedures for employees. Take time to create actionable methods for employees to more easily engage with HR. 

Two-thirds of American employees need help choosing benefits, but half feel uncomfortable asking for it. The numbers indicate a growing need for improved communication surrounding benefits. So how can employers improve this line of communication along with their employees' enrollment experience?


How Can Employers Effectively Communicate Benefits?

Employers and HR departments should fully grasp the scope of the benefits they offer. Understanding the general concerns about reaching out to HR with questions, it makes sense for organizations to host an open enrollment meeting for employees once a year. But it shouldn't end there.  

Instead, there should be a plan in place to provide follow-up information after the meeting is complete. 

One way of ensuring all employees have access to the crucial information discussed is to email a company-wide document outlining everything discussed in the meeting. This could be a list of key points, a spreadsheet, or even a slide deck.

Another step you can take is to educate workers on the proper channels of communication for any questions or concerns that may arise. Educate your employees on the appropriate way to reach out should a question arise. If employees know that you are expecting questions through a particular channel, it can ease the anxieties of having to reach out to HR. 


How Does Communicating Benefits Improve Retention?

The survey found that 66% of American workers were actively seeking or at least open to new employment, and 78% said access to health benefits tailored to their needs was a top priority when looking for a job. 

64% of employees even said they would sacrifice some level of income to gain access to the right health benefits, and 63% said their current health benefits impact whether they wish to remain with the organization.

There is a clear opportunity to increase retention simply by crafting more robust communication around health benefits. With minimal cost and time, organizations can make a tangible impact on their retention rates and even an overall improvement in their culture. Take the time to develop a plan that will benefit your employees and boost your organizational success long-term. 


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with health insurance and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news

  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance

  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit

  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

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