Human Resources News & Insights

The effect of rising insurance costs on open enrollment, employee demands

With health insurance costs continuing to soar, employees are being asked to shoulder more of the financial load. But as a result, they have some demands of their own. 

For starters, nearly nine in 10 employees say they expect more decision-making tools and support when they’re making their benefits selections during open enrollment.

That’s according to a series of annually recurring workforce surveys conducted by Aflac.

What else do employees want now that they’re paying more than ever for coverage?

  • Brand name options — 87% said a brand name or a good reputation is at least somewhat important to them when selection insurance options (49% said it’s extremely important).
  • More engagement in the decision process — 35% of employees agreed when asked if they needed to be more engaged in health insurance coverage decisions (that’s a 21% increase from 2014).

Price-focus driving some to make mistakes

What’s the No. 1 factor employees consider when selecting their insurance plan? More employees selected price (30%) than any other factor.

Of course, HR pros get that more should go into the equation than just costs — like the extent and the quality of the insurance coverage being provided, for example.

That’s something some employees may not be fully grasping, judging on these findings from the survey: A great deal of survey takers expressed remorse over choosing a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) because of its lower premium without fully grasping the specifics of what they were signing up for.

Specifically:

  • 52% of those who selected an HDHP agreed when asked if they regretted choosing the plan.
  • 59% said their HDHP was at least somewhat detrimental for themselves and/or their family
  • 48% said they didn’t understand how an HDHP really works.
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