Research shows that American workers depend on workplace benefits for financial security but most need more direction to maximize their options
Open enrollment season has begun, and 74% of middle-income Americans derive the majority of their financial security from workplace benefits, according to the 2014 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study. Despite the importance of benefits, only 1 in 4 employees finds their company’s communications helpful in choosing what’s right for them. Many simply check the same coverage boxes year after year without evaluating if these benefits really meet their unique needs.
This disconnect is occurring at the same time more employers are shifting the costs and responsibilities of workplace benefits to their employees. As Americans get ready to sign up for their benefit coverage this open enrollment season, it’s important to understand how benefits contribute to overall financial well-being. Choosing the wrong coverage or under/over insuring can have health and financial consequences that can last years. Having a solid understanding of the options offered is especially important at a time when individuals are being forced to share more of the costs associated with workplace coverage.
“As Americans get ready to sign up for their workplace benefit coverage this open enrollment season, it’s important to recognize how benefits contribute to the overall financial well-being of most workers. At the same time, the benefits landscape is changing with employers shifting more costs to employees, so employees must fully understand their choices and needs – especially when voluntary or less traditional benefits are offered, such as critical illness or accident insurance,” said Phyllis Falotico, Head of Group Marketing at Guardian. “Workplace benefits are essential to most Americans’ financial security and employers have a responsibility to improve their employee communications and participation programs to ensure their workforce is adequately covered.”
Most Americans say they don’t know what they need to about workplace benefits, might be falling through the gaps
The same study reveals four out of five employees say that benefits are the deciding factor in taking a new job or staying with their current company. Few employees purchase benefits, such as disability insurance, life insurance or retirement accounts, outside of the workplace benefits package. Employees’ reliance on workplace benefits underscores how valued these options are for creating the foundation for a robust financial plan.