Are most employees basically satisfied with their existing benefits package? Or are they so overwhelmed by choices that they don’t want to rethink an earlier plan decision?
The indication from research by LIMRA is that it’s more the latter than the former.
LIMRA surveyed some 3,000 employees about their plan enrollment thinking, and found that more than half—53 percent—said they spend less than one hour making the annual package choice. And most of them—64 percent—stayed with the previous year’s plan.
What does it take to make a change, LIMRA asked the 36 percent who did so. Here were the main reasons cited:
“A new offering from their employer:” 22 percent
“Determining that another plan was better:” 19 percent
“An increase in the cost of benefits:” 18 percent
How long did those making a plan change spend pondering the decision?
LIMRA said 49 percent said they spent two-plus hours on the decision. The rest spent two hours or less.
Getting back to the question of plan satisfaction versus being overwhelmed, LIMRA could not report definitively what was behind the trend to stick with the same plan.
“It is difficult to determine which behavior is causing the other,” LIMRA said in a release. “Employees who know they want to make a change may be more likely to look at benefits materials. At the same time, reviewing benefits information may motivate employees to take action and make a change.”
Another useful finding from the study—one that led to a conclusive takeaway by LIMRA—was that most employees want to complete their enrollment online.
Nearly seven in 10 respondents said they preferred online enrollment over paper enrollment.
“In fact, there is considerable dissatisfaction with paper enrollment: Half of employees who currently enroll on paper prefer a different method, and most would choose online,” LIMRA said. “Many of these employees see their employer as ‘behind the times’ for not offering online enrollment. As one respondent noted, ‘I guess they are still stuck in a time warp. They do everything by paper.’”