By David Leopold, senior vice president
It’s a well-studied aspect of consumer behavior that if presented with too many choices, a consumer will freeze with indecision.
We’re focused on this – particularly at this time of year – as we help our clients prepare for fall enrollments. Are enrollment options offered in a way that decision paths are simple and clear? Or are employees overwhelmed with change and the choices before them?
Getting this right is of vital importance. Sure, it’s our business. But it’s a business that addresses some significant financial protection needs in a working population that has never been at greater risk. Consider that three-quarters of workers today always or sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey.1 And half of all households could not raise $2,000 within a month if they needed to.2
As we present employees with their benefits options over the next couple of months, getting this right is of vital importance. We want consumers to understand the financial risks they face and to value the solutions that we can provide to help meet these needs.
Our investment in understanding consumer behavior has deepened. This year we will be implementing some new approaches to enrollment that will further simplify the decision-making process for employees and reinforce their buying decisions.
First, you’ll see some significant enhancements to our employee education materials for several product lines. Our new materials have been simplified, with language that is conversational and consumer-friendly. And the details are personalized for each employee, including coverage options, rates and enrollment forms. We will continue to expand these capabilities to other products in the coming months.
In addition, we are piloting some new ways to help employers schedule employee enrollments and testing materials that will help consumers make the best buying decisions by understanding what benefits other people like them purchase.
We also remain focused on the broader benefits landscape and on providing information and expertise to help our clients navigate through a challenging environment. Our new tool on our health care reform website has been well-received and is helping clients evaluate requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
Employee benefits have rarely been as widely discussed and considered as they have been in this era of reform. So there has never been a more important time to focus on the complete financial protection benefits picture. Our commitments to protecting consumers and making it easier to do business with us drive our decisions and define us as a true benefits partner.
1 CareerBuilder.com, “Share of U.S. Workers Living Paycheck to Paycheck Continues Decline from Recession-Era Peak, Finds Annual CareerBuilder Survey” (Sept. 25, 2013; accessed Oct. 9, 2013)
2 Ruth Helman et. al, “2013 Retirement Confidence Survey: Perceived Savings Needs Outpace Reality for Many,” EBRI Issue Brief (no. 384, 2013).