|[October 02, 2013]
Colonial Life cites top seven benefits enrollment mistakes employees make
COLUMBIA, S.C. --(Business Wire)--
America's workers aren't doing enough to learn about their benefits
options and coverage gaps - and it's hurting them at annual enrollment
That's the opinion of hundreds of benefits enrollment experts surveyed
recently by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. The company
surveyed nearly 400 employee benefits counselors - the majority of them
veterans with five or more years of experience in the benefits industry
- about the top mistakes they see employees make during their annual
Topping the list was employees assuming they don't need the benefits
being offered without first talking with a benefits counselor. This
misstep was cited by 81 percent of survey respondents.
"You don't go to court without your lawyer's advice or invest in the
stock market without an advisor's input, so why go to enroll in your
benefits without a professional's advice?" a survey respondent wrote.
Mistakes number two through five were closely knotted in the rankings
and also related to lack of information:
Not reading the benefits information before the enrollment - 69
Not knowing what benefits they currently have and what they cost - 69
Forgetting to talk with their spouse about their family's needs before
the enrollment - 67 percent.
Assuming the cost of a new benefit is unaffordable without seeing any
prices - 66 percent.
"This is the one time you have to take control of how you want to
provide for your family and yourself," a survey respondent advised.
"Take time to talk with your spouse and understand how the benefits can
really helpyour family."
The most commonly cited enrollment errors rounding out the top seven
also involved poor preparation and not taking advantage of educational
Not attending the group informational meeting - 58 percent.
Not taking time to understand the upcoming changes in their benefits
plan - 50 percent.
"Personal knowledge is power," a respondent wrote. "When a crisis
happens, you'll know how to protect your income and savings. Regardless
of health care reform, out-of-pocket medical expenses aren't going away."
Many employers - especially those offering voluntary insurance options
as part of the annual enrollment - give workers the opportunity to meet
one-to-one with a benefits expert for a personalized counseling session.
And employees who take advantage of these sessions are overwhelmingly
positive about them. Post-enrollment surveys by Colonial Life show 98
percent of employees who participated in a one-to-one session said it
was important, and 97 percent said the session improved or significantly
improved their understanding of their benefits.*
"Sit down with someone who can help you make good decisions," one
respondent advised. "Don't go this alone. There are people who can help
you understand so you can make the best decision, get the coverage that
best suits you and still keep as much money as possible in your pocket."
* Colonial Life post-enrollment survey, January 2013
About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in
providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including
disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and supplemental
health insurance. The company's benefit services and education,
innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than
79,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million
working Americans and their families. For more information visit www.coloniallife.com
or connect with the company at www.facebook.com/coloniallifebenefits,
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