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MetLife poll finds lack of confidence in benefits elections among employees

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Fewer than 6 in 10 employees are highly confident they will select the right employee benefits during the annual benefits enrollment period in 2013, according to a new survey.

MetLife, New York, published this finding in a summary of results from a September poll of 523 full- and part-time workers ages 18 and older. The MetLife Benefits Election Poll conducted online in September. GfK Roper Customer Research North America, New York, conducted the poll on behalf of MetLife.

The survey indicates that just 56% of those eligible to participate in the annual benefits enrollment period feel “very confident” that they will make the election for themselves and their families in 2013.

The poll also finds many workers keep the same choices each year or fail to actively enroll.

Approximately one in five workers who had the opportunity to participate in a benefits enrollment last year failed to act and defaulted to either the prior year’s choices or their employer’s default choices. Men (24%) were twice as likely as women (12%) to fail to act. The Poll also finds that:

More than half (51%) of respondents report they deliberately kept their choices the same, believing their personal needs are unchanged. Research shows the more actively employees review benefits materials, the more likely they are to make changes.

More than four in 10 (43%) of those who actively reviewed materials deliberately keep the same options compared to 58% who only briefly review them.

Many workers don’t realize the savings potential from workplace benefits, even if paid for by the employee. Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) of workers report they would spend more time reviewing enrollment materials if they could save money by buying group insurance products.

Reading benefits materials appears to boost confidence in decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of people who actively reviewed information last enrollment season feel very confident about making the right decisions this year. However, only half of those who did not make that effort feel that confident.

Nearly two-thirds of workers want a wider array of voluntary benefits to choose from even if they pay for the benefits themselves. This finding, the survey states, recognizes the value of having access to more benefits options regardless of who pays for them.


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