By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
One-third of American workers would rather talk about their weight than their employee benefits, and nearly half dread the benefits enrollment process as much as asking for a raise, according to a recent MetLife survey. In fact, U.S. workers say they dread the open enrollment process only marginally less than renewing their driver’s license or passport.
According to the survey sponsored by MetLife, one in five workers spend only a few minutes reviewing benefits offered by their employer before making a decision. The survey also revealed women are more likely to bring up their mental health with friends (26 percent) than discuss their finances (18 percent) or their employee benefits (20 percent).
In today’s war for top talent, employers are increasingly offering benefits that better serve their employees’ needs and help differentiate them from their competitors; yet, a knowledge gap remains. Employees are still struggling to understand which benefit options their employers offer, often overlooking helpful coverage such as legal plans and employee auto and home insurance discounts, and what traditional benefits cover, such as life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance and accident insurance. MetLife’s survey found nearly a third of respondents chose “I don’t know” when asked whether disability insurance could be used if you have a mental or emotional illness and are unable to work, while one in five of survey respondents chose only “funeral expenses” as a reason to buy life insurance.
“Employees have the unique opportunity to leverage a growing number of benefits from their employers—benefits that are specifically tailored to their needs and the needs of their families,” said Meredith Ryan-Reid, senior vice president, Group Benefits at MetLife. “But first, they need to be armed with a better understanding of how these employer-offered benefits can play a central role in protecting them against the unexpected and helping them achieve their short- and long-term financial goals.”
MetLife research revealed that learning from others’ experiences can help employees better understand how their choices connect to their overall financial wellbeing, which is critical to feeling confident and informed going into open enrollment. While these conversations with friends, family and colleagues are important to have year-round, taking action on benefits only happens once a year for most U.S. workers.
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