Open enrollment in the new era of employee health benefits is almost upon us and employers may have a problem. Although the majority of employers indicate they are concerned health care reform may bring about challenges surrounding insurance coverage gaps and costs to employees, a large number of American workers remain unaware, confused and unprepared for looming changes to their benefits coverage. These are among the key findings from the 2013 Open Enrollment Survey, an online survey of 2,001 U.S. consumers conducted by Research Now in August 2013.
The survey found that 69 percent of workers say their employer hasn’t communicated changes coming to their benefits package due to health care reform despite the October 1 deadline for employers to notify their employees of their coverage options. Employers’ delay in communication thus far regarding potential employee benefits changes may be in part due to their own lack of preparation for health care reform. In fact, only 9 percent of companies indicate they are very prepared to implement required changes to their business based on the health care reform law at this time.2 Although the implications of health care reform are yet to be seen, some employers (41 percent) believe more gaps in coverage will be created and 69 percent believe costs to employees will increase as a result of health care reform.
At the heart of this issue is the fact that many workers will be blindsided this open enrollment season because we know they already struggle with understanding their insurance policies today, and in covering the high out-of-pocket costs from gaps in their current coverage. Over the next few months, these challenges will be exacerbated as employees may be more confused by changes in their policies, and face greater gaps in their health insurance coverage leaving them at risk. With little notice, education, and coverage options to help guide and support them during this season, employers themselves may be at risk of a highly dissatisfied workforce.
For example, the 2013 Open Enrollment Survey found that:
- 74 percent of workers sometimes or never understand everything that is covered by their insurance policy today.
- Now, nearly 4-in-10 (37 percent) workers think it will be more difficult to understand everything in their health care policy with the changes dictated by health care reform.
- Nearly a third (28 percent) of employees is confused, worried or simply unsure about the change their employer is making to their health care coverage or benefits options due to health care reform.
- 60 percent of workers have not begun to educate themselves about coming changes to their benefits package due to health care reform.
Follow the Magazine:
(After you have filled in your email address in the column at the right hand side of the screen, a confirmation email will sent to your email address. You will have to confirm it before subscription begins)
Follow us on Twitter:
Like us on Facebook: