Voya Financial, a health, wealth and investment company, found in a new survey that while rising costs of goods and services associated with inflation is leveling out for many, a majority (79%) of working Americans strongly or somewhat agree that they are worried their workplace benefits will cost them more this open enrollment season because of inflation. This is an increase from 66% recorded in June 2022 when inflation was at its peak.
Voya’s research also found that 72% of employed Americans strongly or somewhat agree that, because of inflation, they will spend more time reviewing their benefit elections during open enrollment to help them make the most of their benefit dollars.
“As the economy continues to work to recover from the financial impacts of both the pandemic and the added layer of inflationary costs, it’s clear that many individuals are still feeling the financial strains,” said Rob Grubka, CEO of Workplace Solutions for Voya Financial. “With our research also revealing that 88% of individuals feel like their money does not go as far as it used to, when it comes to enrolling in their workplace benefits this fall, understandably, many have concerns about the impacts to their paycheck.”
Finances and mental health go hand in hand
Voya’s research also revealed that more than half (57%) of Americans strongly or somewhat agree that their financial stability has a direct impact on their mental health. Finances remain top of mind for many as they enter this year’s open enrollment season, and benefits, including those with a focus on mental health, are being considered more than before.
What’s more, the “ask” from today’s workforce is also becoming increasingly apparent as more than half (55%) of employed individuals strongly or somewhat agree their employer has a responsibility in ensuring they are mentally healthy and emotionally well. This has proven even more important as nearly half (48%) said they would select a workplace benefit offered by their employer that provides more mental health support and resources even if it costs them more.
“While traditional benefits like medical and dental insurance remain top of mind for many employers and employees, it’s clear that both financial and mental health needs are now equally important components of a comprehensive benefits package,” said Grubka. “And this can have implications for both employers and employees — not only did our research find that 63% of employees somewhat or strongly agree that their mental health has a direct impact on their ability to perform their job effectively, but half of employed Americans also agreed that they are more likely to stay with current employer if offered mental health benefits and resources. As a result, it’s clear that employers have an opportunity to provide the mental health and well-being resources and support that their workforce has come to expect.”
While benefit selection confidence remains high, support and guidance remain critical
When it comes time to selecting benefits during open enrollment, Voya has seen that inertia can often play a big role for employees in making benefits changes, where many individuals have the tendency to select the benefits they enrolled in previously. The good news is that today’s environment is encouraging employees to take a more thoughtful approach, particularly given the overall financial concerns impacting consumers. As a result, a majority (79%) of employed individuals are interested in receiving support to maximize their workplace benefit dollars across their retirement savings, health savings accounts (HSAs), health care insurance and voluntary benefits at work.