Study: Employees find accessing benefits through multiple vendors confusing

By Valerie Bolden-Barrett | HRDive

Dive Brief:

More than 40% of employees find that dealing with multiple vendors to access their benefits is confusing, according to a new Health Advocate’s survey, “Driving Benefits Engagement: Strategies to Optimize Employee Health and Well-Being Programs.” To add to the confusion, 54% of employers offer access to benefits on different platforms requiring separate logins, causing workers to forego the process.

Survey participants found fragmentation to be a major barrier to engagement. However, touch tools for accessing benefits remain employers’ main means for enhancing engagement, and 78% of employers offer workers live support to help them navigate the benefits system and make healthcare decisions. The same percentage of respondents said live support increased engagement.

Survey results show that other key drivers of engagement include consistent communication, including intranets and newsletters (78%); events and meetings (67%); contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) (65%); and incentives, such as reduced insurance premiums, cash and gifts (54%).

Dive Insight:

Employers know well the advantages of having a healthful, happy and productive workforce. But as Health Advocate’s survey indicated, the high costs of medical care and stress in the workplace also force employers to consider employee wellness as a business imperative.

A benefits program that’s fragmented and disjointed and that forces employees to access their benefits through multiple vendors creates an uneven employee experience that won’t encourage engagement. Tech tools can help workers access benefits quickly and conveniently 24/7, but this ease of access is compromised if they have to contend with a series of logins on different platforms. For this reason, many have opted for concierge or all-in-one services with a single access point to try and streamline the benefits experience.

Communication lapses in the workplace usually top most workers’ list of complaints. Benefits options, details and changes should be communicated regularly, not just during open enrollment. Benefits are complicated, and cramming information about them in a few weeks’ time is usually more than employees can easily digest. Education on options can go a long way in encouraging engagement.