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Even though employees have more choices than ever before for their health coverage, most of them still want their employers to choose what is best for them, according to a new survey.

Interestingly, while 19% of employees surveyed by the Employee Benefits Research Institute said they would be happy to receive cash instead of benefits, most said they were not confident in their own ability to pick the plan that is best for them.

Most workers trust their employer to choose their health coverage, and are not as confident in their ability to choose the best available plan if their employers or unions were to stop offering coverage, according to the EBRI.

In other words, while some employees would be happy receiving cash in lieu of benefits, any employer trying this could face a backlash from its workforce and it could make it more difficult to attract talent.

The EBRI found that 70% of employees surveyed reported being satisfied overall with their benefits plan. When asked whether they would give up benefits for cash, the survey found a jump from 2012, when just 10% said they would. This time around, 19% said they’d rather have a fatter wallet than a richer benefits package.

Most workers still prefer employer-sponsored coverage, and most trust their employer to select the health plan that’s best for them, according to the institute. Employees are confident (85% are either “somewhat,” “very” or “extremely” so) that their employer has chosen the “best available” health plan for them.

“Choice of health plans is important to workers, and they would like more choices. But most workers express confidence that their employers or unions have selected the best available health plan – and they are not as confident in their ability to choose the best available plan if their employers or unions did, in fact, stop offering coverage,” the EBRI wrote.

 

The institute also reported that:

  • Most employees said that health insurance was the most important employee benefit. “This finding has remained constant even following enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which has raised questions about whether employers will continue to offer health coverage to their workers in the future,” the EBRI wrote in its report.
  • Most employees do not expect employers to be dropping health coverage. In fact, 64% of employees in the latest poll were either “extremely” or “very” confident their employer would continue to offer health benefits. That’s compared with only 55% in 2010, the year the ACA was enacted.
  • Most workers are satisfied with the health benefits they have now and expressed little interest in changing the current mix of benefits and wages offered by their employers.

 

The takeaway

The main point to take away from this latest study is that employees want to be able to pick policy features that are best suited to them and their families. They want options, but also need assistance in picking plans that are best for them.

We can work with you during the next open enrollment to help your employees feel confident that they are getting the plan that is best for them and their dependents.

 

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