Dumb and dumber: Employees and their brokers
By Denis Storey
A mind might be a terrible thing to waste, but so is an open enrollment.
Yeah, it’s that time of year. While employees in conference rooms scattered across the country daydream about the holidays, brokers and enrollers fight to get them to focus long enough to enroll in their benefit plans.
Which probably explains this morning’s depressing press release. Consumer-driven giant WageWorks Inc. conducted a survey to kick off this year’s enrollment season. And, apparently, 86 percent of respondents harbored at least one misconception about flexible spending accounts. A full 20 percent didn’t even grasp the plans’ most fundamental – and valuable – benefit: the accounts' tax-exempt status.
In fact, out of all the benefit offerings out there right now, about half of those surveyed confessed to knowing the least about FSAs.
This persistent ignorance rears its grumpy head as health care costs continue to climb, misinformation about reform – from both sides – dominates the airwaves and the pool of those actually in the conference room with you continues to shrink.
How can we possibly have an intelligent conversation about health care in this country – whether it’s expanding coverage, cutting costs or saving limited benefit plans – when we can’t even educate employees about the most basic benefit offerings? How can we rally the American people against a single-payer system when they don’t even know what the hell it means?
And how can we really rage against these uneducated masses when we so clearly haven’t done our job, either?