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benefits choice

From deductibles to wellness: Why benefits options matter

August 9, 2023

Benefits options matter. That’s no surprise anymore. Thanks to technology, AI, and more personalization, we’re in a consumer-first age unlike any other. You can watch shows when you want, where you want. When you’re done streaming your favorite series, you’ll be targeted by more shows that align with your viewing habits. Today’s consumer expects options that meet their needs. 

Those same habits are hard-wired into everything we do. Keep that in mind as you approach open enrollment for your employees. We recently surveyed nearly 60,000 of our participants, and 23% told us they don’t feel the benefits they’re offered address all of their needs. That matters, because on a scale of 1 to 10 on how important benefits are to them when considering a job (with 10 being extremely important), they gave a mean score of 9.11. That’s really high! 

One common thread in their responses as to what was missing: They want benefits options. In the first post of this year’s open enrollment series, we break down some of the common feedback we received from those who said their benefits options were lacking so you can build the best benefits package going into your open enrollment. And check out our Benefits episode to discover more findings from our participant survey.

Deductible options

The words “health”, “coverage”, “insurance”, and “deductible” were among the most frequent words to appear when participants were asked in our survey what was missing from their benefits. Specific responses included: 

  • “A lower deductible or copay options would be an improvement.”
  • “Deductibles are too high. Wish there were more options.”
  • “A better understanding of family deductibles and out-of-pocket max.”

Nearly two-thirds of large employers offer their employees a choice between an HSA-eligible health plan (also known as a high-deductible health plan) and a traditional health plan. Smaller employers may face challenges in providing these options, although participants have said they are interested in these health plan choices.

For more open enrollment tips, check out our guide to get the data and insights you need to help you remove the guesswork and have the best open enrollment this year!

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HSA or FSA options

Similar to the choice in health plans, many participants told us in the survey that they wanted to choose between either a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA). Participants are eligible for an HSA only if they’re enrolled in an HSA-eligible health plan, so the choice between these two accounts is related to providing choice in health plans

Participant feedback in the survey included: 

  • HSA vs FSA. Myself being a healthy young adult, I would rather have a HSA so I could save the money year over year.”
  • “Would love a more in-depth need to address the difference in FSA and HSA.”
  • “I would prefer we had an HSA instead of FSA since the money (in an FSA) doesn’t rollover into the next year.”

More dental and vision

Among employers with benefits administration through WEX, 68% of eligible employees enrolled in vision and 77% of eligible employees enrolled in dental. However, not all employees are offered these benefits. Those who are offered them told us they don’t always cover enough of their costs. Their feedback included: 

  • “More options, especially when it comes to dental coverage.”
  • “Dental program is not very good.”
  • “Ideally, more vision options.”

Increased wellness benefits options

Employee wellness has been top of mind for employers, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. This can include any benefit that is specifically aimed at improving the mental, physical, and emotional wellness of employees. 

In a survey of benefits decision-makers we conducted last year, 28% of respondents told us they enhanced their mental health offerings for 2022. And in 2022, the WEX benefits platform saw a 115% increase in partners offering a lifestyle spending account (LSA), which is a benefit employers can customize to support their employees’ wellness needs. Within our participant survey, respondents told us: 

  • “Nothing is necessarily missing, but I would like to see an increase in the wellness benefits offered to employees.”
  • “I am not as clear about what is offered for mental health as physical wellness.”
  • “An LSA would be an amazing benefit, if there were a budget for it with our company.”

Would you like to see more findings from our participant survey? Check out our infographic below and subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the rest of our open enrollment series!

2023 WEX participant survey

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal, financial, or tax advice. For legal, financial, or tax advice, you should consult your own legal counsel, tax and investment advisers. 

WEX receives compensation from some of the merchants identified in its blog posts. By linking to these products, WEX is not endorsing these products. 

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