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When it comes to employee benefits–especially health insurance–the recent Aflac “WorkForces Report” indicates that the vast majority of U.S. workers are reluctant to change their benefits options, mainly because they don’t fully understand the range of choices open to them. So reports

Even more troubling for benefits professionals, in MetLife’s annual “Employee Benefits Trends Study,” more than half the respondents find their companies’ benefits communications inadequate to help them understand their options and how to pay for specific services.

Admittedly, understanding high-deductible medical insurance plans, in-network and out-of-network choices, or an ever-increasing number of 401(k) selections is challenging. However, research out of Carnegie Mellon University finds that an appallingly low number of Americans can even accurately define common terms like “co-pay” or “deductible.”

What’s more, the Aflac study found that 54% of workers don’t even want more control over their health-insurance options because they find them too daunting; also that the same percentage wastes up to $750 because of mistakes made during open-enrollment periods (which generally take place this time of year).

What to do to help solve this debacle? The benefits officers should try to think more like marketers: make better strategic use of the abundant employee benefit data available to them by personalizing, “versioning,” and otherwise leveraging benefit communications to convey important messaging to an ever-more diversified employee population.

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Last modified on Sunday, 13 September 2015
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