Couple selecting benefits on mobile device

Investing in Innovation: Smart solutions to help employees with benefit decisions

Each year, employers build benefit packages that are strategically created to help attract and retain quality employees. But how well do employees understand what they're enrolling in?

Benefits are an important part of employee satisfaction, with 78% of employees saying they are more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program.1 To prepare for enrollment, employers offer a wealth of information—from enrollment guides to benefit fairs and other opportunities to get to know their benefits. So it stands to reason that employees would have a strong understanding of their benefits when they enroll, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to a new survey by Voya’s Consumer Insights & Research team, 35% of the employed Americans they surveyed did not fully understand any of the benefits they enrolled in during their most recent enrollment period. That number jumped to over half of employees in the millennial age group.2

So, with all of this education available, where’s the disconnect? Is it the quality of the education? Or the complexity of the benefits? When it comes to health plan selection, many signs point to the complexity of the benefits.  

The challenge of choosing the right health plan 

A recent article3 by The New York Times illustrated just how difficult it can be to choose a health plan. Several economists shared their insights in the piece, including one Nobel prize-winner, and focused on the complexity of the plans, plus the number of factors needed to make the decision. 

In addition, a recent study conducted by Voya’s Consumer Insights & Research Team showed that bias may be a factor in employee decision-making. In that study, participants were given the choice between a high-deductible plan (HDHP) and a paid provider option (PPO). Even though the discrete choice exercise used in the study was designed so that the HDHP would clearly be the most cost-effective choice, participants still chose the PPO plan two-thirds of the time.

This Voya Perspectives whitepaper digs deeper into why employees often choose a PPO plan over an HDHP, as well as the impact overpaying for health care could have on saving for retirement. It also helps to illustrate some of the factors—like premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, taxes and employer contributions—that employees need to consider.

One of the key takeaways: Offering a decision-support tool that can guide employees through this decision could be an effective way to help. 

The power of decision support 

Research shows that employees would welcome this kind of decision support. In the Voya survey, more than 7-in-10 employees (73%) said they are interested in support and guidance tools that would help them understand how much money to put aside for retirement, emergency savings, and health care expenses. 2

Voya collaborated with SAVVI Financial to release a tool focused on health plan selection and health savings account contributions—called myHealthMoney—during the fall 2020 enrollment season, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 77% of myHealthMoney survey respondents said they felt more prepared to manage healthcare expenses after using myHealthMoney.5

With myHealthMoney, employees are guided through a series of questions that lead to recommendations for a medical health plan, supplemental health insurance, and HSA/FSA savings accounts, based on their unique situation. It’s personalized to account for family size, typical health care spending, retirement dates, savings goals and more—and can be used again throughout the year if the employee’s personal situation changes. 

Innovating into the future

When myHealthMoney was originally launched at Voya, the decision support was centered around choosing an optimal Health Savings Account contribution. Health plan selection, supplemental health insurance options and Health FSA contribution guidance were added to the tool for the fall 2020 enrollment season, and the goal is to continue building upon and expanding the tool to include additional guidance in 2021.  

myHealthMoney is strategically designed to engage employees with an interactive experience, and then guide them through the decisions they need to make. Instead of calculating and comparing options manually, the employee receives personalized scenarios that illustrate the cost of each option. The illustrations also give them the opportunity to see how the different products being offered to them can work together.    

After all, benefits can be complicated. Decision support tools like myHealthMoney can take some of the complexity out of the equation, helping employees begin to see—and understand—which benefits are best for them.

To learn more about the solutions Voya offers to help employees with benefit selection, contact your Voya representative.

 

Voya is making available to you the HSA Planning Guide software offered by SAVVI Financial, LLC. (“SAVVI”). Voya Financial, the parent company of Voya, and a number of other Voya Financial affiliates, have financial and business relationships with SAVVI which create an incentive for Voya to promote SAVVI’s products and services. You should access and read "https://www.savvifi.com/legal/form-adv" SAVVI’s Firm Brochure. It contains general information about SAVVI’s business, including conflicts of interest.

Neither Voya® nor its affiliated companies or representatives provide tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax adviser or attorney before making a tax-related investment/insurance decision.

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.

1 Willis Towers Watson, Employer and employee satisfaction with group benefit marketplaces survey, September 2018. 17,824 employee respondents.

2 Voya Financial survey conducted through Ipsos on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the U.S. (featuring 294 who are currently working and benefits-eligible, which includes 82 millennials in this group). Research was conducted Dec. 17-18, 2020.

3 “It’s Not Just You: Picking a Health Insurance Plan Is Really Hard.” The New York Times. December 11, 2020

4 An online survey conducted by Voya Financial, in partnership with Russell Research, between September 2-6, 2020 among 315 U.S. consumers currently enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan. For research-related inquiries, email [email protected].

5 Based on pilot group data. When asked if using myHealthMoney helped employees feel more prepared to manage healthcare expenses, 7 of 9 total respondents responded “Agree” (data collected as of 12/02/2020).


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