COLUMBUS, Ga. – As employers continue to load more health care expenses onto workers, more than half (53%) of employees are still choosing a major medical plan based on factors that may have little to do with the total cost of health care for which they are increasingly responsible.
According to the 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey released Sept. 22 by Aflac, the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the work site in the United States, most workers (75%) at least somewhat agree that even with their health insurance coverage, their medical copays and other out-of-pocket costs are more than they can afford at times. In spite of this, however, a significant number of consumers lack the desire to research their insurance benefits.
The 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey was conducted among 2,000 U.S. adults employed either full or part time in June and July 2015 by Lightspeed GMI on behalf of Aflac.
Please! I'll do anything but research my benefits…
Spending more time researching benefits choices and reading the fine print could help employees during this open enrollment period. Even though the terms of health insurance policies have likely changed, over half (56%) say they spend less than 30 minutes researching their benefits, and over one-third (34%) say they spend less than 15 minutes.
In fact, according to Aflac's survey, many would rather do almost anything else than research their benefits:
- More than a third (38%) would rather clean out their email inbox
- Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) would rather clean their toilet
- 18% would rather do their taxes
Short-term gains, long-term financial pains?
Workers' concerns about their inability to meet health care-related financial obligations don't necessarily translate into how they choose a health insurance plan. Nearly one-third (30%) of workers say monthly premiums are the most important factor when selecting their major medical plan each year, while almost 1 in 4 (23%) state that they are most concerned with whether their doctors/health providers participate in the plan. Although potentially high costs of coinsurance and deductibles can present significant risk to personal and family finances, only 16% view the percentage of coinsurance they'll pay for health care services as the most important factor. Just 14% say it's the amount of the annual deductible.
"Despite the shift to more consumer-directed health care, U.S. workers are still not moved by the full financial consequences of their health insurance choices during open enrollment," said Matthew Owenby, senior vice president, chief human resources officer at Aflac. "In a perfect world, workers would weigh not only the monthly cost of an insurance plan, but also how much of the total cost of their health care they'll be responsible for to cover any unexpected out-of-pocket costs. In a sense, they are rolling the dice with their financial future."
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