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5 ways to maximize voluntary benefits participation

As education about voluntary benefits increases and the need for voluntary to round out an individual’s coverage becomes more apparent to consumers, growth is inevitable. Recent studies bear out that trend: between 2014 and 2017, voluntary benefit participation rates have increased by 7 percent.1 But, what’s driving this change and how can we capitalize on the momentum? Fortunately, a recent article from BenefitsPRO highlights several simple ways to maximize participation rates in voluntary benefits.
  1. Make the most of marketing – Customized marketing prior to enrollment can make a big difference in getting through to employees and informing them about their benefits. Effective marketing is also critical for letting employees know when and/or where their enrollment is taking place.
  2. Face-to-face wins out – Companies average a six point higher participation rate in their benefits when using face-to-face enrollment. The personal touch of someone to walk through the benefits and explain how they work can make all the difference.
  3. Require a yes/no decision – It’s easy to procrastinate on decisions, but by asking employees to make a yes/no decision for each benefit, you eliminate this problem and make sure they are thinking carefully about their choices.
  4. Create a seamless platform experience – Jumping back and forth between screens or systems is a good way to lose an employee’s attention or cause exasperation. Creating a seamless benefits experience for employees will help to eliminate this problem.
  5. Sequence voluntary alongside core – We see far too many enrollments where voluntary benefits are tacked on at the end of enrollment. But voluntary complements core benefits in ways that are better highlighted by positioning them alongside core.
Another important point to consider is how to ensure that employees who have already enrolled keep their valuable coverage. Participation is one thing, but retaining those employees who enroll is a different challenge. Employees who don’t keep their coverage lose their protection. And, for brokers, plan participants that you can keep for many years tend to hold more value than signing employees up for benefits only to have them cancel their coverage soon after. At Trustmark, we advocate using a multi-year communication and enrollment strategy to stay in front of employees, reinforce the value of their benefits and capture employees who may not have enrolled initially in the available voluntary benefits.

Perpetuating the continued growth of the voluntary market will require a coordinated effort from everyone involved: carriers, brokers, enrollment firms and employers. But, it’s a very achievable goal if we can collaborate on implementing ways to boost participation and, once employees are enrolled, to help make sure they keep that valuable protection.

1 “3 Ways to Maximize Participation Rates in Voluntary Benefits”. BenefitsPRO. February, 2018.
 

Posted on March 07, 2018 in Enrollment

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