Nearly 50 million strong, Hispanic workers represent 15 percent of the U.S. labor force. However, many aren’t taking advantage of available health insurance or are making costly mistakes when selecting their benefits. New research reveals the following:1
- 91 percent of Hispanic and Latino workers say they simply elect the same benefits every year and more than 6 in 10 (61 percent) are only sometimes, or not at all, aware of changes to their policies each year.
- More than one-third of Hispanic and Latino respondents (34 percent) say they chose the wrong level of benefits coverage or benefits they did not need, and only 13 percent feel confident they aren’t making mistakes during the enrollment process.
As the economy continues its uncertain path, ongoing increases in health care costs remain a top concern for Hispanic employees. For example, recent research uncovered these facts:2
- More than 4 in 10 (43 percent) say they are very or extremely concerned about the possibility of an unanticipated medical expense.
- More than 1 in 3 Hispanic and Latino workers (34 percent) identify rising out-of-pocket medical expenses and health insurance costs as the most important issues to them right now.
Despite the worries created by these unexpected expenses, the 2012 Open Enrollment Survey found that 62 percent of Hispanic and Latino workers estimate they waste up to $750 annually because of mistakes made with insurance benefits elections.1
Audrey Tillman, executive vice president of Corporate Services at Aflac, recommends that business owners and HR executives consider more effective ways to engage Hispanic workers, and to educate them about the value of all available health benefits options. Specific tips include:
- Understand their needs. Survey employees to determine what they need and want to allow you to offer the right mix of benefits that will provide additional security and stability for individuals and families.
- Provide information early. By providing information about insurance products well in advance of enrollment dates, employers can take the time needed to fully communicate the value of health insurance to employees and provide the tools they need to carefully plan their benefits elections.
- Bring in trusted advisors. The 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report found that 61 percent of Hispanic and Latino employees would feel more informed about health insurance choices if they sat down with an insurance consultant during enrollment, and 57 percent typically look to resources other than HR/benefits professionals for advice about their benefits.2 One possible source of assistance for Hispanic employees is a broker or agent who has a good understanding of the local community and culture, and who can help employees identify plans that fit their budget and coverage needs.