Colonial Life Survey Reveals Seven Top Benefits Plan Enrollment Mistakes Made By Employees

benefits plan enrollment mistakes, colonial life survey, employee healthcare

Colonial Life Employee Healthcare Survey

A new Colonial Life survey shows countless employees making benefits plan enrollment mistakes because they lack the willingness to educate themselves. They simply do not know or have a basic understanding of what is available to them. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company recently questioned nearly 400 employee benefits counselors about the top mistakes they see employees making during enrollment. As experts in benefits program administration and employee benefit plans, the principals at Pontrelli, Timour & Associates are not surprised by the results of the survey.

The number one mistake was how employees tend to assume they do not need certain benefits being offered without even discussing such options with a benefits professional. This all-too-common mistake was cited by 81 percent of survey respondents.

Benefits Plan Enrollment Mistakes

What PT Benefits find fascinating is how little the expertise of insurance brokers is taken advantage of by employees. It’s almost as if there is a fear that asking questions will have repercussions. From our perspective, there are no foolish questions if they are asked in a honest quest for understanding and knowledge.

Benefits Plan Enrollment Mistakes 2 to 5 were closely grouped in the rankings and all related to lack of information:

  1. Not reading the benefits information prior to enrollment — 69 percent.
  2. Not knowing what benefits they currently have and what they cost — 69  percent
  3. Forgetting to talk with their spouse about their family’s needs before the enrollment — 67 percent
  4. Assuming the cost of a new benefit is unaffordable without seeing any prices — 66 percent

A survey respondent describe his frustration with this lack of planning and foresight by employees when he said: “This is the one time you have to take control of how you want to provide for your family and yourself. Take time to talk with your spouse and understand how the benefits can really help your family.”

Benefits Plan Enrollment Mistakes 6 & 7 directly pertain to a failure to take advantage of educational resources available:

  1. Not attending group informational meetings — 58 percent
  2. Not taking time to understand the upcoming changes in their benefits plan — 50 percent

Personal knowledge can be translated into power, but so few employees seem willing to access such power to help themselves. Many employers give workers the opportunity to meet one-to-one with a benefits expert for a personalized counseling session.

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 their understanding of the benefits being offered.

With the complexities presented by the Affordable Care Act, such past benefits enrollment mistakes are even more dangerous today. PT Benefits recommend that every small to mid-sized employer sit down with their employees and emphasize the importance of education and knowledge.

With ACA affecting everyone and the higher costs coming down the line, it is time for employees to take hold of the reins when it comes to benefits enrollment. If you have questions from the perspective of an employer or an employee about benefits enrollment, please call 866-782-9899 or fill out our handy contact form.

 

Chris Pontrelli

About 

Principal at Pontrelli, Timour & Associates, Inc.

A California native of Pasadena, Chris Pontrelli received his Health & Insurance License from the California Department of Insurance in 1993. After working at Banker’s Trust in their 401k administration division, Chris Pontrelli set-up a desk in his father’s insurance office and built his group insurance business from the ground up. Chris Pontrelli teamed-up with childhood friend Raphy Timour to form Pontrelli, Timour & Associates, Inc. in 2003.

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