Online enrollment the new norm

The amount of workers enrolling online for their employee benefits has doubled since just a few years ago. Research from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America shows 62 percent of workers now enroll online, compared to 29 percent in 2005.

In the past year alone, the use of online benefits enrollment increased by 8 percentage points, representing a significant shift in how employees learn about, evaluate and interact with their benefits programs.

The study also offers generational insights regarding employee preferences related to benefit platforms. Though millennials are generally perceived as the generation that would overwhelmingly prefer to evaluate benefit offerings through online platforms, in effect, a majority of all workers (54 percent) indicated that a consolidated web portal would help employees appreciate the value of available benefits more effectively.

“Our research indicates a substantial shift in attitudes, needs and technology behaviors among all generations of workers,” says Elena Wu, vice president, group insurance for Guardian. “As such, employers are beginning to adapt to these changing dynamics by offering benefit packages through online interfaces that streamline the learning and evaluation process for all of their workers.”

Given the complexity of benefits evaluation and the identification of the most appropriate offerings, employees have expressed a strong need for simplification. In fact, a majority of workers (56 percent), irrespective of age or educational level, believe a single, consolidated web-based platform that integrates all of their benefits allows them to better comprehend and consider their insurance options, make selections and appreciate the value of benefits available to them.

In general, workers prefer online enrollment over an offline or a paper process.  Nine out of ten workers surveyed (91 percent) rate their online enrollment experience as “very easy” compared to 78 percent of those using paper. Employees say they prefer online benefits enrollment for convenience (89 percent); time savings (85 percent) and the fact that it’s good for the environment (78 percent).

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