Survey: Employees Spend More Time Holiday Shopping than Reviewing their Benefits

December 20, 2016

Findings underscore the need to educate employees about the financial impact of their benefits

Buffalo, NY, December 20, 2016 – Employees spend more time holiday shopping than reviewing their benefits, according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Liazon, operator of industry-leading private benefits exchanges. The survey reveals that most Americans receiving health insurance from their employers care “a lot” about their coverage and financial stability (89 percent say financial stability is very important to them), yet their actions do not align with their priorities.

According to the survey, 52 percent of employees expect to spend two or more hours shopping for gifts this holiday season, while 86 percent spend less than two hours reviewing their company’s employee benefits. This is noteworthy given that 57 percent of employees are spending $500 or less on holiday gifts, while in comparison, the average employee spends thousands of dollars on their annual health insurance premiums ($18,142 for family coverage and $6,435 for employee-only coverage). This disconnect in terms of time vs. money spent suggests that employees are likely not realizing the financial impact of their benefits decisions.

“Benefits are among the biggest purchases employees make in a year. Yet despite being highly concerned with their health and financial security, employees are spending more time finding Uncle Bob the drone quadcopter he requested than reviewing their benefits options,” says Liazon co-founder Alan Cohen. “Health insurance is about financial protection more than anything else, yet people’s actions show that they’re not always thinking this way. The good news is there’s an opportunity to better educate employees about their health and other benefits by increasing transparency around costs and engaging them in the selection process.”

Other survey findings include:
• 83 percent of employees care “a lot” about what their health insurance plan covers, but only 52 percent say they really understand it.

• Women are more concerned about their health insurance coverage than men, with 89 percent of women saying they care “a lot” about their coverage versus only 77 percent of men.

• Health insurance coverage matters more as employees age: only 68 percent of millennials (ages 18-29) care about what their health insurance covers compared to 83 percent of those aged 30-45; 86 percent of those aged 46-54; 87 percent of those aged 55-64; and 91 percent of employees 65 and over.

• Millennials spend the least amount of time reviewing their benefits, with 61 percent spending an hour or less.

About the Methodology
Morning Consult, on behalf of Liazon, conducted a national survey of 872 adults who have health insurance through their employer. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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About Liazon
Liazon operates the industry-leading private benefits exchanges for businesses across the U.S. Distributed under the brand name Bright Choices® as well as several privately-labeled brands, Liazon exchanges are online benefits stores that allow employees to personalize their benefits package with a selection of health, dental, vision, life, disability, and a host of other benefits from top national and regional providers. Liazon exchanges enable companies to achieve a benefits strategy that maximizes value for their benefits dollars and helps them attract and retain talent through high employee satisfaction and empowerment. Liazon was acquired by Towers Watson, now Willis Towers Watson, in 2013. To learn more about Liazon exchanges, go to www.liazon.com.