For many employees, trying to understand their benefits plans can be a confusing and frustrating process. Between traditional health plans, wellness programs, consumer-driven health care and retirement – just to name a few – there are so many options to consider, and employees need the proper education to make the right decisions. Despite this, many employees are lacking in benefits education.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the ADP Research Institute, 80 percent of human resources professionals say it's important for employees to fully understand their benefit options; however, they estimate that only about 60 percent of their own employees do, suggesting there are major flaws in how companies communicate a large portion of an employee's total compensation.

While health care and retirement benefits tend to be the most confusing because of their complexities, comprehension is difficult among all programs, says Sharon Podstupka, director of communications and change management at Towers Watson, a global professional services company in New York City.

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