58% of Employees Say Understanding Health Insurance Benefits is Stressful

How Employees Feel About Health Insurance

A new study from Aflac reveals more than half of US workers (58%) are stressed about understanding what health insurance or the benefits they need to enroll for. The Aflac Workforce Report cites this uncertainty is having a particularly disruptive effect on younger generations in the workforce.

Employees are getting more high-deductible plans, requiring them to increasingly take on more of the cost-sharing for health insurance. And this is responsible for healthcare becoming one of the biggest challenges workers face in the US.

How Employees Feel About Health Insurance

However, 74% of employers believe their employees have enough options available to help them meet their health care financial obligations. With many aware of their financial challenges, a strong majority of employees (85%) also see a growing need for supplemental insurance benefits.

Overall, 6 in 10 workers say understanding what insurance or benefits they need is somewhat or very stressful. Millennials (66%) appear to be the ones with more stress, with Generation Z at 63% who find medical billing stressful. Across the board, 43% of all employees say enrolling in health insurance is somewhat or very stressful; percentages that increase to 51% for millennials and 55% for Gen Zers.

“After many signs of optimism last year, including record highs in employees’ benefits and job satisfaction, the 2019 Aflac WorkForces Report found that American workers largely are stressed about critical health insurance decisions and less satisfied with their benefits offerings,” says Matthew Owenby, senior vice president, chief human resources officer at Aflac.

What has changed?

The report indicates benefits satisfaction is in the decline, citing a strong connection between benefits and happy workers. More than 8 in 10 (83%) employers that offer benefits agree their company’s benefits offerings increase employee satisfaction.

However, a year after reaching a high (61%) since the initial Aflac WorkForces Report in 2011, benefits satisfaction has declined to 52% among workers. The same percentage say they would be at least somewhat likely to accept a job with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package. One-quarter of employees report having left a job or turning down a job offer due to the benefits offered.

One of the biggest reasons healthcare is so important is family history. Family history factors high on workers’ health insurance decisions. Almost three-quarters (73%) of employees, including 80% of millennials and 75% of Gen Z, say their family history is somewhat extremely influential in guiding their health insurance decisions.

Illnesses related to family history such as cancer, heart attack or stroke were most cited. This is especially true among younger generations particularly Gen Z (95%) and millennials (89%). A further, 84% would be likely to purchase insurance to help cover costs associated with a serious illness.

What is the result? The number of American workers who are extremely or very satisfied in their jobs is down to 61% from 65% in 2018.

The Healthcare Debate

The findings also point to the national debate on healthcare. Thirty-eight percent say the ongoing national debate about healthcare has helped them to better understand their health care options. Another 24% who say it has made them more confused about choices—these figures increase significantly for younger generations. For example, 78% of Gen Zers and almost half (49%) of millennials say the debate has helped them better understand options.

Today less than half of workers (46%) have a solid understanding of their total annual cost for health care coverage and care. This a slight slump from last year at 50%. Also, 35% of the respondents have a full understanding of their health insurance policy, down from 39% in 2018. Some 22% did not feel confident they understood everything they signed up for after their most recent benefits enrollment.

Keep Your Employees Happy by Providing Health Insurance

One of the key pillars to a successful business is happy employees. Compensation for employees can only keep employees long enough. But a positive work environment with attractive perks and benefits to supplement their salary can make them stay longer.

Providing a comprehensive employee benefits program including healthcare benefits helps both the company and the employees. Though providing attractive benefits for employees might be costly at first, the long term payoff is worth it. in the long run, these people will help the company grow and achieve success.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Samson Haileyesus Samson Haileyesus is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector.

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