Despite an increased awareness around employer health benefits brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are still uninformed on the subject.
A survey by Voya Financial, Inc. found that 35% of employees do not fully understand the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period. When shifting to younger workers, the knowledge gap increases, as 54% of Millennials said they don’t understand their benefits selections.
“Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic taught many individuals that they need to be ready for the unexpected, which includes protecting themselves from unplanned health-related expenses that could deplete their emergency and retirement savings,” said Rob Grubka, president of Voya Employee Benefits. “The challenge now in 2021 — especially among younger workers, like Millennials — is providing ongoing support and education to help employees understand how to maximize their new benefit selections to address their holistic financial wellness needs.”
Voya’s survey of 1,005 employees did reveal that 56% spent more time reviewing their benefits during the open enrollment period. Two-thirds of employees (66%) indicated they want their employer to help them better understand their employee benefits throughout the year — not just at open enrollment. Interestingly, this number jumps for younger workers with 78% of Millennials reporting they would like more communications about their workplace benefits throughout 2021. Additionally, 73% are interested in support and guidance tools that help them understand how much money to put aside for retirement, emergency savings and health care expenses.
“Supplemental health benefits like accident insurance, hospital indemnity insurance and critical illness insurance can be confusing — especially for younger workers, who might have enrolled in these coverages for the first time due to the pandemic,” said Andrew Frend, senior vice president of product and strategy at Voya Employee Benefits. “Plus, with COVID-19 shining a spotlight on the need for greater financial security, the challenge for employers moving forward will be connecting health and wealth benefits as their employees continue to have an increasing need for budgeting, planning and guidance resources.”