It’s safe to say that employees will never be benefits experts. There will always be consistent confusion, year after year, whether your plan sees big changes or small ones. But having the right resources in place for employees to make the right choices can help reduce overall confusion and guide employees through the experience, helping build awareness, engagement, and better understanding. Decision support is a crucial part of building that overall engagement right when it matters: annual enrollment.
Enrolling in benefits can be overwhelming and the average employee only spends about 15 minutes going through enrollment—that’s barely enough time to get invested into the latest streaming series, let alone figure out which health plan is best fit for you. Decision support makes it easier for employees to find the right coverage for their needs and pointing them towards other relevant benefits and resources to help them tailor a total rewards experience around their unique needs.
According to our most recent Benefits Insights Report, we know that 85% of employees say they’re confused about their benefits. Their confusion can lead to being over- or under-insured, ultimately costing them (and you) money.
But with decision support, steerage to the right plans can help reduce that confusion. 60% of employees across Businessolver’s book of business elected a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA) when decision support was available. Without that support, that HDHP and HSA dual enrollment dropped to only 20%.
Comprehensive decision support tools help evaluate employees’ needs based on lifestyle factors, including overall health, financial stability, emotional responses, and risk tolerance. By answering a short series of questions, employees can base their enrollment decisions based off of plan recommendations tailored to them—not just their pocketbooks.
Better-fit plan elections can have year-round ripple effects, especially for overall finances and wellbeing.
Kickstarting the plan year with clarity around benefits can ignite momentum for year-round success. When employees have the right benefits in place, they have the right support year-round for their wellbeing, whether they have a planned event coming up or are navigating the unexpected. While no one can truly tell the future, decision support tools can help employees evaluate plan options by looking at different risk factors, such as financial readiness or health history.
Other technology tools help as well. When decision support is integrated with other resources alongside the technology, such as consumer spending accounts or telemedicine, the employee experience gets enhanced even further. With advancements in AI, personal benefits assistants can use natural language to explain complex benefits details easily and continue to build contextual awareness of benefits for employees in the benefits platform.
Technology paired with a communication strategy helps as well. With benefits understanding established at enrollment, as employees receive personalized reminders from their benefits communications throughout the year, they’ll be more apt to activate on their benefits at relevant points.
In short, when employees understand how the benefits they choose at enrollment meet their needs and are valuable to them, they can create a smarter benefits package that improves their overall well-being. This leads to better access to support and security, more cost-effective plan options, and a greater understanding of their entire compensation.
Annual enrollment is probably one of the busiest times of the year for HR. But with tools like decision support, AI, and a winning communications strategy, the process is much less cumbersome. HR is able to better understand how employees are engaging with their benefits across the entire benefits lifecycle—from awareness to selection and ultimately activation. And having data that readily available at a moment’s notice helps gain a better understanding of what your population really needs.
When employees feel supported and well-informed, they are more likely to actively engage in the enrollment process, truly making the most of that 15-minute process. A positive employee experience means that your people feel like they are taken care of, and they’re more likely to be engaged, and stay engaged throughout the year.
Ultimately, decision support is an indispensable element in engaging your employees and creating a memorable enrollment experience. Decision support can help drive down costs, but just as impactfully, increase your benefits program’s value and creating a better employee experience.
Don’t let the value of your benefits programs get lost—explore more ways to keep them accessible and engaging for your workforce.