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Luck.jpgWe’ve all been stuck in a situation where we have had to make a difficult choice.


But what was it specifically that made the choice so difficult? Was there too many choices vying for your attention? Did you struggle with coming up with the right criteria on which to base your decision? Maybe you were limited on time, or maybe you weren’t an expert on what you were evaluating, making it difficult to know where to start evaluating at all. Maybe you felt so overwhelmed by all the different options that you even considered just picking blindly.

When buying insurance, there are a lot of options to consider in making your decision. Premiums, copayments, deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket limits—these are all things you’ll want to financially evaluate first. If you’re basing your decision on price alone, you might not be making the best decision.

In a study done by the McKinsey group2, they found that healthcare insurance purchases were heavily influenced by emotion because purchasers are seeking more than just a product – they are seeking peace of mind. And since peace of mind is so subjective, it makes emotion a critical input to the buying process. Buying insurance is just as much about the heart as it is about the mind. Despite this, consumers are still likely to evaluate coverage through a financial lens first, jumping over the benefits and right to the price tag.

Connecting with employees emotionally is crucial when it comes to benefits enrollment.

According to Dan Ariely, options distract us because “we have an irrational compulsion to keep doors open” and we can’t focus on the most important things because we’re “running back and forth among the things that might be important.” We’re stuck between two mindsets—financial and emotional—and it’s difficult to decide which mindset to with which to make our final decision. While most of today’s decision support tools are great at assessing the financial side of insurance buying, they lack the emotional side that is crucial when it comes to benefits enrollment.

Don’t leave your benefits choice to luck.

The good news for consumers is that even if they don’t have time, they don’t have to leave their decision to luck. Utilizing a benefits recommendation engine that considers the emotional side of the question would ask an employee about their tolerance for emotional risk, perceptions of risk-taking behavior, consumer behavior, health status, and heath compared with national health data.

Evaluating only one side of benefits choice—whether strictly financial or strictly emotional—consumers may be leaving the decision up to luck, which carries more risk than many would want to endure.

2 J. Cordina, T. Pellath and S. Singhal, The Role of Emotions in buying Health Insurance, McKinsey Insights, May 2009

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