The next few weeks are the height of Annual Enrollment season.
It’s that magical time of year when millions of US employees make decisions about their benefits coverage for the coming year.
They excitedly attend benefits fairs and meetings, review enrollment materials, look at videos and discuss costs and coverage options with their family members. They carefully weigh their options and make informed, cogent decisions.
Or do they?
Last year, we analyzed data from nearly 500,000 employees using our benefits recommendation engine to understand what people were thinking as they made their benefits decisions. How, you ask? Our MyChoiceSM Recommendation Engine asks a series of specially designed questions that uncover an employee’s health, emotional and financial situation in order to return a personalized suite of benefits suggestions.
What we found was that during 2019 Annual Enrollment, most employees made decisions that were informed by their state of mind. And, for many, that included poor benefits literacy, a lack of financial well-being and risk aversion.
Each of these factors alone could cause employees to make less than optimal benefits decisions. Together, they can create a situation in which emotions and risk aversion lead to bad decision-making, especially when employees don’t understand the benefits they’re choosing.
Fast forward 12 months and here we are, in the thick of 2020 Annual Enrollment. Benefits haven’t become less complex, and the workforce hasn’t gained significant financial ground. Chances are most employees haven’t boned up on their benefits knowledge in the last year. So, employees making their elections now are very likely thinking and behaving similarly to how they thought and behaved during the last Annual Enrollment.
That’s why it’s important to address benefits literacy—both during Annual Enrollment and throughout the year. Providing employees with a solid foundation of understanding can help them make more informed choices.
In addition, decision guidance plays a vital role in helping connect employees to the best options so risk aversion and emotions don’t dominate the choices they make.
Want to learn more about what drives employees during Annual Enrollment, and how you can help them be better benefits consumers? Our MyChoice Recommendation Engine Benefits Insights Report offers suggestions. Get it below.