Avoiding ‘Benefits Fatigue’

Portfolio approach reduces the stress of open enrollment

Rather than endure the typically laborious process of completing open enrollment, more than half of respondents to a recent Harris Poll survey said they would prefer to be doing any other unpleasant activity—including going to the dentist, seeing a movie about the life of Lindsay Lohan, or appearing on “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump.

The survey of 2,060 adults was commissioned by Plan Source, a cloud-based provider of benefits administration, exchange, payroll, and HRIS solutions to employers.

The survey results reveal that more than two-thirds (67%) of employees take time out of their work day researching, choosing, and enrolling in their employer’s benefits plans during open enrollment; more than half (55%) report that sorting through all of the options is confusing. Rather than do that, 23% would prefer to visit the dentist, 20% would choose to see a movie about the life of Lindsay Lohan, and 14% would opt to appear on “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump.

Benefits Fatigue

In response, Navera President and CEO Steve Adams says, “The frustration of completing open enrollment can cause ‘benefits fatigue,’ which results from the serial process of selecting one benefit, choosing the next one, then the next, and so on. It gets to feel like a lengthy serpentine line for an amusement park ride.

“Besides being boring, the serial process of open enrollment doesn’t enable employees and their families to see how the benefits they select work together. Employees are asked to make an independent purchase decision about each of their benefits without ever seeing if this will provide them with the most complete and cost-effective coverage.”

A more effective way to conduct open enrollment, according to Adams, is with a ‘portfolio approach.’ This approach:

  • Allows employees to select benefits based on their individual profiles and goals
    It is similar to the way workers allocate their retirement savings among equities, fixed income, and other investments in a 401(k) plan. A portfolio approach enables workers to see how medical and voluntary products work together to provide the most compete and cost-effective coverage.
  • Strikes a satisfying balance between education and entertainment, and eliminates the need for personal research. Employees are educated in an entertaining manner about key terms and concepts—and in plain English that everyone can understand.
  • Links education with decision support. They key here is the linkage between education and decision support. Typically, decision support is provided without education. For employees to come away from the benefits enrollment process satisfied with their decisions, they need to have the information necessary to understand what each benefit is, what it covers, why people typically select it, and whether or not it’s right for them based on their financial, health, and wellness goals.
Besides being boring, the serial process of open enrollment doesn’t enable employees and their families to see how the benefits they select work together

“Open enrollment will never replace online entertainments such as playing Words with Friends or watching videos on YouTube, but, if done right, employees can laugh as they learn and make well-informed decisions without hours of research and frustration,” Adams said.




About Navera
Navera is a leading provider of a cloud-based benefits engagement service that enables consumers to select the healthcare and voluntary benefits that most closely match their needs. Headquartered in San Francisco, Navera takes a portfolio approach to benefits enrollment and provides users with an engaging and personalized consumer experience that provides a better understanding of benefit options and how they work together to provide the most complete and cost-effective coverage. Consumers are able to make confident, well-informed decisions while enjoying an informative and entertaining enrollment process. To learn more about Navera and the new 2014 Fall Release, please visit www.navera.com.