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Survey finds majority of employees want customizable benefits

Original article: http://ebn.benefitnews.com

By Tristan Lejeune

As employers increasingly cost-shift benefits, an inevitable consequence is employees wanting a larger say in how their benefit dollars are spent – making tailored and personalized benefit packages another step in the evolution of the consumer-driven paradigm.

“Once you get into the situation where employees now are all of a sudden consumers and [they]’re bearing a fair amount of the cost, with that comes a desire to be able to make a decision,” says Mike Fish, vice president of voluntary benefits with The Hartford.

In a December 2012 survey of nearly 1,500 U.S. workers by TNS Omnibus, 86% say it is important to be able to customize all of their benefits to fit their individual lifestyle. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed by TNS Omnibus say it’s important for them to design their own disability insurance instead of one-size-fits-all coverage chosen by an employer, and 82% would likely sign up for a disability plan that allows them the chance to choose the size of their payments.

Women and younger workers were particularly likely to favor customizable benefits. Only half of men, but 56% of women, agree that it is extremely or very important to be able to customize benefit choices to fit their lifestyle. Americans in their 40s are more likely to value the option than older workers, and millenials are more likely than any older group to say personalization is important.

“Consumers today can customize everything – from music and TV to clothing and cars, and our recent survey shows they want to customize their benefits, too,” Fish says.