The world of employee benefits is constantly changing. Those changes get a lot of press, especially as the various facets of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act roll out. But they also mean that more than ever, employers and their employees need personalized education on employee benefits. Brokers can be the ones to deliver it.
“Carriers and brokers have a vested interest in helping employees understand their choices — especially carriers who offer life insurance and retirement options in addition to health coverage,” writes Veer Gidwaney for healthinsurancenews.net. “Unfortunately, because many employees don’t fully comprehend the insurance options their employers offer, some make ill-informed choices regarding their future needs.”
Many employees see brokers as the solution for navigating the sometimes serpentine world of employee benefits, and that attitude is gaining steam, writes Paula Aven Gladych for Employee Benefit News, citing the 2014 Guardian Workplace Benefits Study. They’re especially choosing brokers for their educational abilities. “Employers in this year’s study say they want to increase access to education and help employees make the right financial decisions,” Gladych writes. “They are looking at ways to improve their enrollment processes and ongoing communications.”
Brokers can help a client’s employees understand the value of their workplace benefits, especially those who are perhaps not the highest-compensated within their organizations. “Guardian found that income has a huge impact on how employees perceive workplace benefits. Workers who made between $25,000 and $49,999 a year were not as positive about their workplace plans as others who make more money,” Gladych writes. “They are less likely than those with higher incomes to feel their benefits meet their specific needs, are affordable or improve their health or financial security.”
Another group of employees who will benefit from brokers’ expertise: younger employees. These groups are hungry for information but often turn to non-experts for advice. However, brokers may need to vary their educational styles in order to reach these groups, “such as multi-channel enrollment options, including access to a professional benefits enrollment advisor (via phone, web chat or in person), according to the Guardian Workplace Benefits study.
“Benefits communication and education efforts typically are not well-designed for the Millennial workforce, so younger workers pay less attention and do not take full advantage of all that is available at the workplace,” according to the study. “Consequently, the value Millennials place on their employer’s benefits program tends to be lower than perhaps it should be.”
Along with new styles of educational methods, brokers can rely on old favorites, like Q&A sessions, to provide value to their clients. “While investment choices ultimately boil down to personal preferences and needs, nearly everyone shares a common goal: to protect and secure the future,” Gidwaney writes. “By encouraging employees to consider all available options and equipping employers with the strategies and resources needed to educate them, insurance carriers and brokers can create an atmosphere of trust and engagement.”