NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Annual enrollment season is a critical time for employees to ensure they make the best benefit choices for themselves and their families for the coming year. While employees of all generations say they value the benefits provided to them through the workplace, 61 percent were on ‘auto pilot’ and did not make any changes to their plans during the annual enrollment season1 last fall – potentially missing out on money-saving options available to them at work.
MetLife, a leading provider of employee benefits, is helping employees make the most out of this annual enrollment season by encouraging employees to stop auto-enrolling in benefits, watch informative videos to help evaluate options, and enroll in the benefits they need. MetLife, in partnership with the experts in DIY online content, Lifehacker, a studio Gawker production, created an educational video series to help employees make the right benefits decisions for themselves and their families. The series features topics including:
- Getting Insurance at Work
- Life Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Accident and Critical Illness Insurance
- Legal Services
View the entire series online at MetLife’s new YouTube Learning Center: YouTube.com/MetLife.
“As we approach annual enrollment season, employees should take another look at all of their benefits options – and take full advantage of the informational and educational tools available to them. MetLife’s research shows that while employees of all ages report that they value their benefits because benefits mean they worry less about unexpected health and financial issues, there are key differences in the concerns and issues faced by each generation in the workplace,” said Michael Fradkin, senior vice president, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits, MetLife. “By becoming more educated about the benefits options available to them, and taking the time to make the right choices, employees can help to ensure that they are not “leaving money on the table” this annual enrollment season.”
Generational Differences Drive Benefit Choices
MetLife’s 11th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends found that generational differences can play a major role in the benefits choices employees make, with nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents saying they would value their employer offering more personalized benefits geared towards their age group.
Generation Y Most Concerned with Job Security and Risks Associated with Job Loss
Many Gen Y (born between 1981 and 1994) employees entered the workforce during economic uncertainty and 44 percent say they are very concerned about meeting monthly living expenses and financial obligations. Gen Y employees are also heavily burdened by student debt and worry about job security. More than half (54%) are concerned about having enough money to pay bills in the event of a job loss.
Additionally, Gen Y is more likely than other generations to look to their employer for help in achieving financial security through benefits. More than half (51%) of Gen Y report that benefits were a very important reason for why they chose to work for their current employer.
Given their financial concerns and interest in accessing benefits through work, Gen Y employees should look for insurance plans with prompt reimbursement, and where possible, take advantage of group discounts and low deductibles.
Generation X Employees Feel Least Financially Secure
Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) are most likely raising families and their concerns focus on job security, covering monthly living expenses and paying for children’s education. According to the MetLife study, Gen X is concerned with both the present – in terms of making sure that their children are covered and taken care of – and the future, with concerns about their financial security as they age. The study found that:
- Sixty-three percent are concerned about the status of their retirement savings;
- Sixty-three percent are concerned about outliving their savings;
- Nearly four in five surveyed do not have high expectations for support from Social Security; and
- Fifty-seven percent say they are willing to bear more of the cost of benefits rather than lose coverage.
With many Gen Xers focused on raising children, during this annual enrollment season they should look for comprehensive dependent coverage with competitive and predictable costs and premiums.
Younger Boomers Feel Financially Squeezed
Younger Boomers (born between 1956 and 1964) are less concerned about job security than younger workers, but 51 percent are very worried about their financial security in the event of a disability or serious illness and 35 percent are very concerned about paying for their children’s education. Among their concerns:
- Forty percent say they are living paycheck-to-paycheck
- Seventy-four percent agree the amount of money they expect to receive from Social Security will be significantly reduced by the time they retire, compared to what recipients receive today;
- Forty-three percent are very concerned about the status of their retirement savings;
As Younger Boomers age into high-disability years (50-year-olds are twice as likely to suffer a disability as 40-year-olds)2, Younger Boomers should take stock of the disability insurance options available to them through the workplace, and determine whether supplemental disability insurance could help to alleviate some of their financial concerns.
Older Boomers Have New Expectations
Older Boomers’ (born between 1946 and 1955) relationship with their benefits has changed as home equity, retirement funds and their 401(k) investments lost value due to the financial crisis. Of those Older Boomers surveyed:
- Fifty-four percent expect to delay retirement;
- Thirty-five percent say they are very concerned about meeting out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by their health insurance, such as premiums, deductibles, co-pays and travel; and
- Forty-five percent say they are very concerned about access to affordable health care, though they are the least worried generation about the availability of Social Security and Medicare.
A change in retirement planning reinforces the importance of closely evaluating benefits options available to them. Older Boomers may want to explore additional voluntary benefits options, like critical illness insurance, that provide coverage for age-related conditions.
MetLife’s 11th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted during October 2012 and consisted of two distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey comprised 1,503 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employee sample comprised 1,422 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees.
1 MetLife PSB Fall Enrollment Study 2013
2 Social Security Disability Insurance is Vital to Workers With Severe Impairments: Ruffing, K., Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August, 2012
GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with more than 11,500 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. To find out more, visit www.gfk.com/us or follow GfK on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gfk_en.
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.