Study from Lincoln Financial Finds Nearly Half of Employed Americans Never Feel Confident about Benefit Choices

In the midst of open enrollment season, Lincoln Financial releases
findings that show low levels of employee confidence around workplace
benefits – and resources employers can use to help,
including a
whitepaper with three key tips.

RADNOR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lincoln Financial Group today released a new set of results from its
2017 Employee Benefits Study. The research takes a close look at
employees’ perspectives on benefits that are typically offered at the
workplace, and provides guidance for employers around communicating and
engaging with their workforces. The research
includes a whitepaper
and an infographic
for employers.

“The benefits landscape has changed,” said Dick Mucci, president of
Group Protection at Lincoln Financial Group. “Today, employees are being
asked to take on more and more responsibility for their benefits. But
the education needed to make those decisions might be missing. Nearly
half of employees – 44 percent – say they have never felt
confident about their benefits choices.”

The study found the biggest gaps in employee knowledge involved
non-medical insurance benefits, like disability, accident, and critical
illness insurance:

  • 59 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about disability
  • 69 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about accident
    insurance, and
  • 77 percent of employees know “little” or “nothing” about critical
    illness insurance.

Employers can help build benefit confidence

Just 31 percent of employees feel very “in control” of their financial
futures, and just 33 percent feel very “in control” of their health.
Without the right protections in place, this can be a dangerous
combination financially. Health issues can have major financial
implications – particularly if an employee already feels a lack of
financial security.

In the same vein, 60 percent of employees are worried about the loss of
household income due to an unexpected illness or injury, and 70 percent
are worried about healthcare expenses. Sixty percent are simply worried
about paying their bills.

Workplace benefits provide supplemental coverage that can help guard
against these fears. Employees just need help understanding their
benefit options. Lincoln’s research finds that most employees – 87
percent – are more likely to enroll in benefits if they feel familiar
with them.

Three key benefit communication tips for employers

Today, only 26 percent of employees say their employer is “very
proactive” in helping them understand their benefits. During open
enrollment season and beyond, employers can consider these three tips:

1. Communicate simply and consistently.

  • Most employees – about 60 percent – would prefer to receive benefits
    information year-round. Open enrollment time can be overwhelming, and
    employers can build knowledge with a steady stream of education
    throughout the year.
  • When communicating, use a simple four-point formula to answer
    the questions employees want answered, as outlined in Lincoln’s
    : (1) How much does it cost? (2) What’s covered? (3)
    What or how much do I need? (4) What’s the benefit?

2. Take a multi-channel approach, including personalized guidance.

  • Seventy-two percent of employees say they would prefer personal
    recommendations on benefits, rather than general advice. Today’s
    benefit technology systems and tools can help with a personal touch.
    And employees are ready for it: 73 percent are open to trusting an
    online system to help them choose their benefits.
  • Remember to promote online
    tools and calculators
    for employees, which are often available
    from insurance carriers. These tools can provide an employee with
    insights specific to their individual situation. Additionally, it’s a
    “quick win” for the employer and requires little time investment.
  • If going the traditional route, employers can offer in-person
    meetings, one-on-one calls or webinars to provide guidance.

3. Focus on the motivations behind benefit decision-making, and
create messages based on employees’ needs.

  • Develop a straightforward survey that asks employees to identify the
    emotions, values and motivators in their lives. This can unlock
    insights into employees’ hearts and minds, and can help shape

Employers spend a lot of time, money and energy on crafting
benefits packages,” said Mucci, “And the next step is making sure all
that work goes to good use by helping employees build the knowledge they
need to choose their benefits with confidence.”

About Lincoln Financial’s 2017 Employee Benefits Study

Results are based on a national survey of 2,500 employed adults,
conducted in 2017 by Lincoln Financial Group and PSB. Data is weighted
to reflect the proportion of U.S. employees by gender, age, region, race
and ethnicity based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the
U.S. Census Bureau. The margin of error is ± 2% at the 95% confidence

About Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower
people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and
optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement,
insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their
lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against
long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln
Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation
(NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $246 billion in assets
under management as of September 30, 2017. Lincoln is a committed
corporate citizen and was named one of the Forbes Best Employers for
2017, is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America,
and received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate
Equality Index. Learn more at:
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Lincoln Financial Group
Amy Ponticello