As it’s open enrollment season for U.S. businesses, millions of employees from Seattle to Baton Rouge are making important decisions about health care and benefits that will affect them and their families in 2009. However, surprisingly, millions of employees still aren’t participating in these decisions.
If your employees knew they were throwing money away, would they change their course? A newly released CareerBuilder.com survey reveals that nearly a quarter of workers (23 percent) do not take advantage of the new and potentially cost-saving measures being offered by their respective companies.
Paying the price
The survey of more than 6,100 U.S. workers and more than 3,000 HR managers and other hiring professionals found that the cost to workers for missing out on benefits can actually be quite high. More than half of the employers surveyed (52 percent) reported that missing open enrollment costs workers $250 or more in out-of-pocket expenses and 20 percent of employers said it equates to $1000 or more in lost money for workers.
“Open enrollment ensures that eligible employees are not missing out on significant amounts of helpful benefits and wallet friendly programs,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. “In a challenging economy, many people are being prudent about how they can save money by cutting back on exorbitant personal expenses, but also need to be aware of cost-saving benefits at work that are easily available to them.”
Rosemary offers the following tips to pass on to your employees:
- Be proactive: Interested in saving money on public transit or getting consumer discounts at local stores? Ask your employer about benefits they may not offer. Some perks are free to the company and other benefits options may provide tax savings.
- Keep benefits on your radar: When your work piles up and you’re burned out, it may seem easier to ignore emails and communication for HR regarding open enrollment. Employees who monitor these communications and sign up for benefits changes are taking advantage of the easily accessible opportunities to save money and improve their personal bottom line.
- Speak up: The HR department is there to help employees, so be sure to make your voice heard. If you have specific questions about your benefits plan or deductions, reach out to your HR department for clarification. This will help you decide what benefits are best to keep and which are best to remove from your plan.
Additionally, Workforce.com relays these tips from MetLife to help employees empower themselves and learn how to best take advantage of the benefits offered to them.
It’s always important to be aware of company benefits, but in light of current ecomonic conditions, it’s particularly vital that employees are not only aware of benefits – but are active participants - before companies close the door on this year’s open enrollment.Related