Many know little about PPACA, benefits News added by Benefits Pro on November 12, 2013

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Allen Greenberg

There’s a lot that’s just “bananas” about employees’ understanding of their benefits, according to the people at the Jellyvision Lab, an HR communications firm.

That verdict might not be exactly new to benefits managers, but a recent Jellyvision Lab survey of 400 workers did offer yet more evidence supporting it.

Specifically, while the majority (77.6 percent) of surveyed employees think it is at least “somewhat important” for their employers to provide a wellness program, nearly one in five workers can’t say for sure if their company even has one.

“One of the most important things we learned from this data,” said Josh Fosburg, vice president of business development for The Jellyvision Lab, “is employees aren't getting everything they need to know about their employers’ wellness programs and other benefits.

“For instance, nearly half (45.3 percent) of employees in our survey think they have to pay something in order to take advantage of the wellness programming that will help them manage their weight, stay on top of their prescribed medications, or cease smoking. That’s bananas.”

Hard to disagree with that.

Some of the other key findings of the survey:
  • While the largest segment (29 percent) of employees said they preferred one-on-one interactions with their HR department, their employers most frequently use non-interactive, text-based formats such as email (62.5 percent), websites (53.5 percent), and direct mail (52.8 percent) to communicate benefits information.
  • Although 87.1 percent of employees say they “somewhat agree,” “agree,” or “completely agree” that they know when they can make changes to their health plan, less than one-third (29.5 percent) actually understand that they’re only able to change enrollment information during open enrollment or qualifying events.
  • Employees want to include their spouses and partners in important health insurance decision-making. When asked how important is it to include their spouses and partners when deciding which health plan to get, 71.5 percent say it’s important or very important.
  • Employees do feel that it’s important to understand health care reform. In fact, 90.3 percent say that it’s at least “somewhat” important, and 71.5 percent believe it’s either important or very important. But only 15.1 percent say they are “knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” about health care reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s public exchanges.
Based in Chicago, Jellvision is the HR communication business. Founded by the creator of the video trivia game "You Don't Know Jack," it bills itself as a place to turn to if “your company website has a lot to say and is currently doing it in a way that’s too technical or filled with … impersonalized FAQs and outsourced sales reps referring to massive binders of robotic text.”

It partnered with The Olinger Group, a New Orleans market research firm, to produce the survey.

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