Inflation Could Make Open Enrollment Difficult For Brokers

Inflation could make the upcoming open enrollment period more challenging than usual for brokers. Four in 10 U.S. employees expect to scale back on the benefits they select, while nearly half say inflation is making it harder for them to pay for benefits.

“With our current economic environment, it is an ideal time for workers to take stock of what benefits they currently have rather than automatically rolling over the same benefits they chose in previous years,” says Dana MacKinnon, head of relationship management strategy and enrollment for group benefits for The Hartford.

Many workers automatically make the same benefits choices as the previous year, The Hartford’s August 2022 Future of Benefits Pulse Survey found:

  • * 30% of workers are “rollers,” typically rolling over the same benefits choices they made the previous year
  • * 28% are “planners,” keeping up to date on benefits throughout the year so they are prepared at enrollment time
  • * 22% are “analyzers,” examining the coverage and crunching the numbers for all of their benefits choices
  • * 12% are “consulters,” typically needing to consult with someone else before making their benefits selections
  • * 8% are “avoiders,” tending to ignore open-enrollment emails and preferring not to think about their benefits

Employers can take several steps to help workers fully understand their benefits options and make informed decisions to protect themselves and their families:

  • * Communicate all year about benefits so employees are better prepared at decision time. Thirty-nine percent of workers indicate they typically enroll in benefits as soon as the open-enrollment window opens.
  • * Offer a variety of tools to reach the workforce, such as emails, webinars, one-on-one support from benefits counselors, educational videosinteractive decision support tools and social media. About 48% of workers have used social media platforms to learn about benefits, with YouTube and Facebook being the most common.
  • * Use clear language and personalized messaging to demonstrate how the insurance products relate to their lifestyle rather than simply listing what benefits are being offered.
  • * Highlight services that may come with insurance coverage, such as an employee assistance program or will-preparation services.

“I encourage workers to take extra time this year to reflect on what changes have occurred in their life and select the benefits that best fit their individual needs and budget to help protect their finances in the long run,” MacKinnon says.


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