Goldilocks and Financial Wellness: Helping Employees Get to 'Just Right' with Benefits
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Goldilocks and Financial Wellness: Helping Employees Get to 'Just Right' with Benefits

Each year millions of workers go through the benefit selection process. Their employer says, “it’s time to enroll,” and they do. Is their focus around protecting assets? Investing in the future? Whatever the goal, employees do their research, enroll within their time frame and then wonder if they made the right decisions.

*80 percent of Americans typically enroll in a health plan that is not appropriate for their needs.*1

So how can we all achieve the Goldilocks status of just right when it comes to benefits and financial protection, without going through the too hot or too cold mishaps Goldilocks had to endure first?  In real life, there are real dollars tied to these decisions, and just right is entirely unique to the individual.

Fortunately, when it comes to benefits, no one is alone in the woods making decisions on what to try. Let’s look at a few ways to help employees get to just right the first time. 

Artificial Intelligence + Benefits

It’s important for employers to have the ability to give each employee a holistic, big-picture view of all of their benefits and how they work together, versus simply presenting the cost and coverage of individual benefit products.  

You can create this big-picture view by utilizing analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

*GenXers make up the largest percentage of insomniacs, with 64 percent of them abandoning dreamland because of money woes.*2

AI-powered benefits engines, like BenefitSAIGE™ from Benefitfocus, can pull in multiple data points, synthesize them and present the employee with the benefits that work best together, guiding the employee to make decisions appropriate for their position.

For example, a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) may have a lower up-front cost, but it’s critical for employees to look beyond that. Providing a holistic view on how to cover the HDHP's out-of-pocket costs, such as using an HSA or other gap coverage products like accident insurance, can help your employees have their peace of mind when family members get sick or injured.

Communication + Moments that Matter

Businesses suffer when employees are stressed about money. Data-driven communications tools, such as Benefitfocus' Smart Moments powered by BenefitSAIGE, can create touch-points throughout the year, encouraging employees to re-evaluate their benefit needs and options, especially during times of change.

*Employees with money worries are 5.8 times more likely not to be able to finish daily tasks and 4.9 times more likely to have lower work quality.*3

The fun example to talk about is a new baby or adoption. While adding a child to medical events is typically an obvious and automatic consideration for employees, how well educated are your employees about 529 plans? Creating or adjusting a will? Or even how disability insurance can protect their income and cover family expenses if something happens to them that causes them to miss work? All of these additional benefits may not apply immediately, but the ability to communicate about them throughout the year and prepare employees for a future decision provides value and peace of mind—that as employees' families evolve, the protection they need will be available to them.

*Millennials are 43 percent more likely than baby boomers, and 24 percent more likely than Gen Xers, to start saving before their kids hit age 5.*4

A less enjoyable, but equally important, situation is the loss of a loved one. Using well-timed, coordinated messages to support an employee during those times is critical, because their just right benefits package they had before before may need to do a 180-degree spin.

Leveraging your own employee data – through a Smart Moments campaign or targeted message – allows you to speak to specific groups, making guidance even more personal and creating the ability to not just help employees determine which medical plan they should choose, but to help them understand how they can use all of their different available benefits to protect their assets and invest in their future security.

We live in a hyper-connected, data-driven world, where people are increasingly empowered to personalize their most important decisions. Benefits are no exception. Using data and AI, you can help your employees "get out of the woods" with their benefit decisions and identify with confidence the just right options for their ever-changing lives. You can make being confused, under-insured or financially stressed a thing of the past for your entire workforce.

Learn more about how Benefitfocus uses BenefitSAIGE to provide personalized benefit recommendations and awareness campaigns. 

Johnson EJ, Hassin R, Baker T, Bajger AT, Treuer G: Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value of Choice Architecture.

2 Bankrate Losing Sleep Survey 2019

3 The Employer's Guide to Financial Wellness 2019, Salary Finance

4 Collegebacker, 2019