Just 56 percent of employees say they feel very confident they will make the right decisions during open enrollment, and a majority just keep making the same choices each year or fail to actively enroll, potentially leaving money on the table, according to a new survey.
Approximately one in five workers who had the opportunity to participate in a benefits enrollment last year failed to act and defaulted to either the prior year’s choices or their employer’s default choices. Men (24 percent) were twice as likely as women (12 percent) to fail to act.
“We encourage employees to cast a ‘vote for you.’ In other words, take full advantage of the benefits employers are offering and the discounts available through group pricing,” says Todd Katz, executive vice president at MetLife. “This is a once-a-year opportunity for employees to maximize their total compensation package by selecting benefits options that meet their specific needs.”
About half of respondents reported they deliberately kept their choices the same, believing their personal needs were unchanged. But research shows the more actively employees review benefits materials, the more likely they are to make changes, MetLife notes. In fact, 43 percent of those who actively reviewed materials deliberately kept the same options compared to 58 percent who only briefly reviewed them. Employers often change or add offerings, so it is beneficial to read enrollment materials to confirm whether the current selections remain the most appropriate.
The survey also found that most workers don’t realize the savings potential from workplace benefits, even if paid for by the employee. About seven in ten workers reported they would spend more time reviewing enrollment materials if they could save money by buying group insurance products.
Reading benefits materials appears to boost confidence in decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of people who actively reviewed information last enrollment season feel very confident about making the right decisions this year. But only half of those who did not make that effort feel that confident.
“It pays to be a savvy shopper at the office as well as at home,” Katz says. “Not only are there obvious out-of-pocket cost savings by using plans with in-network dental, medical and vision providers, but some employers offer opportunities to save on auto insurance, homeowners insurance and even attorney fees.”
The MetLife Benefits Election Poll was conducted online September 28-30.