Lincoln Leads

Are you prepared for the unexpected?

August 30, 2021 Lincoln Financial Group Season 2 Episode 3
Lincoln Leads
Are you prepared for the unexpected?
Show Notes Transcript

Description: Life is returning to normal, in many ways, as the US sees more success in containing and preventing COVID infections.  But there’s still a lot of uncertainty – whether there will be another wave of infections and serious illness, who will have long-term health impacts of COVID, and how families will be affected by the economic and social disruption.  Having the right type of protection against the unexpected has never been more important.

© 2021 Lincoln National Corporation. All rights reserved. LCN-3716430-081321

Lauren Gawlik:

Hi everyone, this is Lauren Gawlik, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Lincoln Financial. Today I'm joined by Eli Oake-libow, Assistant Vice President of national accounts and Jeremy Parr, senior account director of voluntary business development, both from Lincoln Financial Group, as well as Dr. Glenn Pransky, associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health who is the scientific advisor for Lincoln Financial Group. In this episode, we'll explore if employees are really prepared for the unexpected, and how employers can help to provide those solutions should we ever face a global pandemic again, in our future. t's now more apparent than ever, how important voluntary benefits can be to help provide an extra layer of protection for employees.

Eli Oake-libow:

So today, we're talking about the unexpected, and certainly 2020 was, if anything unexpected, and obviously, you know, life's returning to normal in a lot of ways and as the US sees more success in containing and preventing COVID, but there's still a lot of uncertainty, whether there's gonna be another wave of infections, and serious illness, who are the folks that are going to have long term health impacts from COVID, and how families are going to be affected by the economic and social disruption. And so we're going to talk about how having the right type of protection against the unexpected has never been more important than than it is today. So this podcast, we're going to talk about the impact of unexpected events like COVID, on working Americans, how people's perception about risk, disability and health are changing. We're going to talk about how employers can be a part of that solution and ways the comprehensive Insurance Solutions can provide both financial security and health protection for employees. So I mean, first and foremost, COVID was a complete unknown from a risk perspective, I don't, I don't think anybody had global pandemic on their checklist of things to worry about when they enrolled in benefits. But obviously, the first thing that comes to mind are the medical risks. And you know, Glenn, I don't know if you could give us your perspective on on the medical risks of COVID.

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Eli, I agree, very few people anticipated what would happen, you know, not only the health impacts, but the economic, social, and workplace impacts, like think, for example, what happened with schooling and daycare, it seemed like almost overnight, 120 million children were stuck at home. 76 million Americans had to leave their offices and ended up working from home for much more than a year, the health effects were obvious and were really very unfortunate, you know, millions of people worldwide dying from this, but the economic impacts were huge, too. We had millions of people who lost their jobs, and about half of them have gone back to work since the onset of COVID. But there's still about 12 million people who are unemployed as a consequence of this virus. And the consequences have included depleting their household savings, they're unable to pay credit card bills and other debt. And there's been a lot of problems affording medical care. And even though many of these problems have resolved, as we've moved back towards normal, about half of US households still have persistent problems. You know, the medical side, as I said, was really extreme. At one point, for example, mortality rates in New York City for several months with six to seven times higher than normal. But there's other issues that happen with health care, like many people either deferred or avoided care, they were either couldn't afford it or were afraid to go into a healthcare institution. And even a year later, that's still not back to normal, with health care visits for some type of condition still down 20 to 30%. And that's had significant consequences in terms of more illnesses and deaths, because people haven't gotten the care they needed.

Eli Oake-libow:

Yeah, and I think one thing that was really clear, Glenn, was COVID didn't affect everyone the same way did it?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

No, it sure didn't. You know, those people who had to go to work every day, faced much more risks of getting COVID than those who could be totally isolated. I mean, those of us who could use curbside pickup, never had to leave our

Eli Oake-libow:

And yet there's also still a lot of uncertainty basement to go to work. We really had significant advantages. In terms of industry sectors, obviously, healthcare workers took the brunt of this at the outset, but that got better. But in the long run, we saw COVID infection rates in transportation and warehouse workers, four to five times as high as those who are working in Information Services. And you know, the economic fallout obviously was very different by income and industry also, obviously worse for blue and pink collar workers. And for young workers with families, couples that had no kids and higher earners who could work from home. They actually fare better, you know, they didn't g on vacations or have othe voluntary expenses. So thei savings grew, where savings fo other people went down. about the ultimate impact of the virus though isn't there?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Yeah, there certainly is, you know, this prospect of one in 10 people with COVID, developing long term symptoms is really worrisome. And we don't really know how to treat these long term symptoms. And most of these people who have them have said that they expect that this is going to have a significant impact on your finances.

Eli Oake-libow:

So taking this back to actually where we started this conversation about people understanding their risk, I mean, COVID has really, you know, highlighted the fact that it's very difficult for people to appropriately assess their risk. But this has actually been a problem that's been around for a long time hasn't it?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Yes, it has been, it has been there a lot of studies showing that people just don't do a good job of estimating their risks, we have unrealistic expectations that we're never going to have a serious injury or illness or be hospitalized. Even after all this happened to people's health, because of COVID 46% of us workers still say they haven't thought much about how they would cover unexpected medical costs if they occurred. And you know, what we're seeing in the population before COVID was this upward trend in terms of more chronic illness, people being less fit more sedentary, you know, we're all living longer, but not necessarily living healthier. So these type of unexpected events are more likely. So you have that as a baseline. And on top of that, you add the financial and health stressors of COVID, that really exposed the fact that more and more people were under insured. And before COVID, we had a lot of evidence that people who got one of these unexpected events struggled to pay medical bills, they had difficulty navigating the healthcare system when problems occur. You know, before COVID, 43% of working Americans said they wouldn't be able to cover an unexpected medical bill of $500 or more. And more than half said, there's no way I could cover the full deductible costs on my health insurance if someone in my family had a serious illness. So the consequences of all of this was that even before COVID, almost half of all Americans say that, to some extent they put off or avoided care because they couldn't afford it. And we know that medical debt is really the number one cause of bankruptcy. And to avoid bankruptcy, more than a third of U.S. workers said if they needed to, they would deplete their retirement savings as their primary source of emergency fund for medical bills. And that's really unfortunate, because it sets them up for having a really bad long term impact on their financial future.

Eli Oake-libow:

Yeah, agreed. I think, you know, if we had to look for a positive in going through COVID, I think it's really got people thinking more about the kind of risks that are out there and understanding what those are and how those things can impact them financially. And I think one of the things that's really starting to become apparent is the needs of younger workers previously, you know, from where I sit, working with large, complex employers, you know, when you look at plan participation, typically younger workers weren't driving plan participation traditionally. But I think that's starting to change when we look at things. And as employers think about how they serve the different populations of employees, they have the different generations of workers, I think there has to be a little bit more recognition of their plans and how they recognize supporting those employees. So I don't know, Jeremy, from from a product perspective, what are what are you seeing and thinking about out in the marketplace?

Jeremy Parr:

That's a great question, Eli. And those are good points. I think in the post COVID environment that we set today, people are rethinking their protections are they protecting their families are you know, would they be able to make ends meet during the course of a disability. And early on in my career, I actually managed disability claims for about seven, eight years. And I used to see on the frontline firsthand that even back then, seven, eight years ago, when people will go out on a disability and they're living off of a reduced income, their standard benefits just were not enough right to meet all their expenses. And there's usually some long tail of expenses that they have to deal with even after they return to work. And so COVID has made people think about this again, and you know, the surveys that are coming out now post, you know, 2020 enrollment with employers and employees, what their motivations are right now is, is they're thinking about life insurance differently, right with the mortality risk that's out there with with a pandemic. And what's interesting is, is almost half of millennial populations are reconsidering their life insurance. So, you know, this is really a unique time for employers to think about how do we educate? How do we capitalize on the environment we're in today. To make sure that we're meeting our employees where they sit and where their motivations are today in this environment, are we offering the right products? You know, the traditional core products are often looked at in silos. When I say core products, I mean, like, you know, maybe this year we'll look at our life and disability plans. And next year, we'll look at our major medical plans. I think employers are need to start taking a more holistic view on what they're offering their employees, and understanding that there needs to be a more diverse product portfolio that's being offered to the employees, including health supplement products like accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity insurance. And these are kind of the necessary or you know, what have become the necessary gap products for not only high deductible health plans, but also PPO plans, if you look at the participation data, it's pretty much the same between PPO and high deductible health. So as Glenn had referenced, people are not saving enough. When medical issues arise, it's leading the bankruptcy and making sure that through offering voluntary employee paid products is a good way to help people make decisions to kind of customize their benefit package and take care of their families.

Eli Oake-libow:

So I mean, it sounds like Jeremy, that there is an opportunity to to build plan designs around younger workers, folks who are perhaps now more engaged and interested in those plans. Glenn, what's your perspective on on doing that?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Well, I look at these demographic shifts that have been occurring, where there are more families every year who are dependent on both parents working full time to be able to support basic needs. And there are more and more single parent families where obviously, everything depends on that wage earner. So you can't really look at supplemental plans in isolation, you really have to think about disability coverage, even when it comes to basic covering medical costs. We know that when illness strikes, lost income is actually economically more important than health care costs in driving debt and bankruptcy.

Eli Oake-libow:

So Jeremy, you know, I think that's a great point, Glenn, and as we think about the desire of younger workers, you know, I think a lot of people have an expectation now that, you know, you're gonna meet them we were talking before, but but meeting people where they are from a need perspective, so, you know, from a product or a communication perspective, how do we, how do we help ensure that we're delivering individualized options for employees?

Jeremy Parr:

Well, I think the first rule of thumb is, is that there, you can't take a one size fits all approach. Some people want to self study, some people want to talk to somebody. In fact, if you look at the data, there's a significant amount of millennials that actually want to talk to people. And that's kind of the common misconception is that, you know, we just need to access them with online information, emails, texting those kinds of things. Right. But I think understanding and educating your population of, you know, where the general financial needs are over the course of your career, right. You know, when when we enroll a lot of millennial generation, at least pre COVID, when we're talking to those people, they're not thinking about, you know, life insurance, they're not, they're not expecting that, right. And if you sit down with them, and you, you start to talk about what their financial responsibilities are, and focusing on what would happen if the unexpected happened, right? And and, you know, where would your family be financially. And really, if you look at the needs analysis, or the, you know, the needs curve that is created by the data, it says that actually early on in your career is when you need life insurance the most, right? If you think about it, it's a lost income benefit. The result, a lot of years left, that you're trying to replace, to help keep your family protected, right. And it's also the time where it's easiest to obtain at your workplace, it's cheaper in those years, right, you're a lower risk population, you have the opportunity to elect more. So really, I think that those facts and those, those things have often been overlooked, and benefit strategies. And that's what we try to serve to do at Lincoln and thinking of financial wellness. And that's what I try to do when I meet with clients is really partner with them to understand how much participation how much volume are, in particular areas of their employee demographics and then create a strategy that is going to engage those hotspots.

Eli Oake-libow:

You know, Jeremy on the on the topic of life insurance, you know, it always surprises me whenever you sit down with employers and you look at participation rates, particularly an optional life insurance. And it's always surprising to me, you know, generally how low you know those participation rates can be any anywhere from from just you know, 20 to 30 percent. And it's always surprising, you know, when you look through the demographics, and you dig into the data, and you see that, you know, there's a lot of folks who are sort of in, you know, what I would call prime insurance here. So you know, you've probably got children, you've probably got future college expenses on your mind you you've probably got a mortgage and a car or two. So you know, folks who have the most to protect. And it's always surprising to me when you go through a census, and you see the the folks who who aren't protecting themselves on the optional life insurance front. And I think, you know, there's some employers that you work with, who are dedicated to trying to educate employees and get folks to understand the importance of life insurance to buy in. And I think there's other employers who, whose perspective is, you know, our role is to select good insurance products to select quality insurers, and we put it out there. And if people want it, they can take it. And if they don't want it, they don't want it. But, you know, I think employers really need to see this as a priority, and really need to understand how critical it is that folks have the appropriate amount of protection. I guess, Glenn, I mean, what's your perspective on that, as far as employers making things like that a priority?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Well, I think employers have to consider the consequences of the pandemic, what's happened to people, but also the downsides of people not having the right type of insurance coverage. So these problems sort of fall in three areas. One is that if people don't have funds for anticipated health care costs, they avoid care. And when people don't get the right medical care, it's clear that they have longer periods of disability when a serious illness strikes. And if they do go back to work, they're less productive, because they're just not feeling well, because they're not getting the right treatment that they need. The second thing is that if they are having difficulties, getting the right care for their family, they're distracted during the day, dealing with medical or financial problems. And that leads to both presenteeism and absenteeism. And finally, if they have a really serious economic problem, people often leave the workplace, you can lose one of your star performers. So employers need to understand that not only does being uninsured have serious consequences for employees, it also has serious consequences for them.

Jeremy Parr:

And I think that that's a, you know, some good, some good points Glenn, around, you know, lost productivity, I think a lot of employers maybe overlook, you know, the impact at the workplace. I mean, there's, there's social impact, there's economical impact, there's lost productivity, and there's cost of new hire, right? If you lose that employee to either a disability or to, you know, a changing personal situation due to the medical event that has occurred. I would also like to point out that, you know, when we're communicating and educating people on these things, I always try to get employers to think outside of the Annual Enrollment box, right? A lot of times we go through this kind of business cycle and a time and a place for communication, education of your employees. And open enrollment is a great time, right? It's when everybody seems to be at least a little more tuned in to what's going on with the benefits, what's changing. But what I've learned just from being a worker in the labor environment, and working with employers, and talking to supervisors and managers on the frontline, is a lot of times it's that frontline manager, that supervisor that is fielding these benefit questions before it gets to HR, right. And a lot of organizations I've worked with that have done a great job of education and communication have tapped into that and created advocates within their organization like that frontline manager, especially ones that are hiring, you know, frontline out of college or new hires, the younger population, a lot of times they're going to go to their manager and say, How much should I be contributing to my 401k? You know, what level of life insurance do you suggest now, I mean, obviously, they're not financial advisors, right. But at the end of the day, making sure that they understand what they have available to them, and to help kind of coach them to get resources or what they need to do to help educate themselves on that aspect of their compensation that has led to really good participation and volumes and employee paid programs.

Eli Oake-libow:

Jeremy on on that front on the voluntary program, obviously, there's a lot of employers whose benefit programs can be set up with completely voluntary, you know, say disability programs, because that's how they chose to structure it. Is there anything additional employers should be thinking about or different strategies to employ when you're talking about purely voluntary products versus employer paid?

Jeremy Parr:

Yeah, I mean, you know, the first role or responsibility of the employer is is engagement of employees. Right. So if you're offering a voluntary program with, you know, whatever insurance carry you choose, really the contract that you're signing is I'm giving you and I'm going to help you educate and communicate these employee paid products, these consumer decision based products to my employee population. And I think a lot of times, we'll just, you know, some employers may fall into the trap of, we'll put it on the platform, and like you said earlier, have the employees choose what they want and leave the rest, right? It's up to them. I like to think of it as a it's, it's more of an active engagement that's needed around those voluntary programs. But then there's also like, for example, on disability insurance, regulatory advice that's coming out that saying, you know, encouraging employers to do things like auto enrollment, which, you know, 10 years ago, where it was pretty taboo, right, automatically put somebody into a voluntary program, where they're electing out deciding to not participate, rather than having to decide to participate. And 2018, the Department of Labor issued a statement that said ERISA governed disability plans, like your 401k can be automatically enrolled, because one, the rates that people are paying or income proportionate, two, there is a need out there to protect the American worker. And ultimately, this is an income replacement, similar to a 401k. And there was a time, you know, Lincoln is also in the retirement planning services business, there was a time where that was considered a new progressive practice by employers to automatically put them into 401k. And since 2018, you look at some of our largest customers, many of them are moving to an auto enrollment environment for their voluntary disability programs, or strongly considering to do it over the next few years. And, you know, like so many things in the, in my career, I've seen the evolution of things typically happen with the largest employers out there, right, they start adopting certain methodology practices, simply, you know, systems. And that seems to continue making its way down market to some of the smaller clients, you know, from 20,000, lines down to 10,000, lines down to 1000, down to 100. Right, and all the way to your local mom and pop. So there's definitely some new thoughts out there. I think taking advantage of those leaning into those rethinking how to, to do this in a different way than we've always done in the past will help support the the American worker in your employees. Yeah, you know, great point Jeremy, you know, you make m Yeah, sure. That's, I mean, that's a great topic, Eli to cover. I look at it, as you know, the largest clients that you know, have the the systems to support it, maybe the resources to, you know, manage the, you know, education and communication, you know, adopted voluntary products and health supplement products like accident critical illness hospital, really early on, right. And if you look at, you know, for example, you look at hospital plans, that's greater than 65% of employers with 10,000 lives and above offer ospital plan, right. And then as you kind of go down market, you see that number go down, and some of the smaller employers are not offering those those types of options, right, you know, with the Affordable Care Act, and all the things that surrounded that kind of seismic shift in the benefits environment, a lot of employers looked at these health supplement products as a way to give an additional financial instrument to the employee to protect themselves. So if you move over to a high deductible health plan, and you're building up your HSA account, you know, you also can purchase for, you think of a particular larg national customer that we hav know, relatively small cost this kind of catastrophic coverage that has voluntary disabilit benefits. And several years ago where if I get in an accident, or I have to go to the hospital, they chose to auto enroll al new hires into the disabilit I probably can meet that high deductible or out of pocket programs. And I think thei average participation rate righ costs that I'm going to have for that kind of medical care. But when the Cadillac tax was repealed, it's been interesting now is about 85%. So, you know when they auto enrolled people to see where the data starts to trend from there on that really right from the beginning, fro their first paycheck from fro the participation in high deductible health plans and PPO this employer, obviously, folk tended to see the benefit, yo plans continue to narrow meaning that it's kind of balancing out know, and again, the vas majority of those folks tende to keep that coverage. An obviously, from the employer and you're gonna, you know, getting closer to half the perspective, they knew ho critical it was for folks t people in PPO and half the people in high deductible health have disability insurance. An if people were going to be out plans. But if you look at the accident, critical illness and you know, that they recogniz that they couldn't just rely o hospital participation, it's pretty much the same between PPO employee sort of educatin themselves on it. So really and high deductible health. So back to Glenn's original points, success story that I think, yo know, proves out the point yo you know, people are living longer, sicker, they're not just made. Um, you know, w think about benefit plan saving enough. And healthcare just continues to get more and more expensive. And so there's the needed of that added interacting, you know, when think about the acciden protection. critical illness, hospita indemnity, I think, you know

Eli Oake-libow:

So that, you know, that's interesting that the the high deductible health plan and the PPO coming several years ago, the though process was, you know, thes together. I mean, I think a couple of years ago, everybody were products that were reall directly tied to healt assumed that high deductible health plans were the future coverage, in particular, hig deductible health plans. I thin bringing costs down, allowing people to control their health everybody sort of saw these these things is kind of hand i care and their health care dollars. But, you know, I think, glove together. And I'm jus kind of curious. I guess I'l you know, perhaps what's playing into it is, you know, our health start with Glenn. Oh, actually let me start with Jeremy. Yo system has not gotten any easier to use or to navigate. So, know, what is your thought? Ho do you think the market evolved? You know, you talke about things starting wit Glenn, I, you know, I know, I know, you're a doctor, but national customers, and the kind of evolving? What have yo what's your, what's your perspective on on navigating the seen as far as those acciden and critical illness coverages health system?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Well, yes, I'm a doctor, you know, I can't And how they interplay wit health plans? figure it out. I, I've got to get a cataract surgery done. And I thought just for fun, I'd figure out how much this is really going to cost me. And I've been doing quite a bit of research. And I still can't find out exactly what the number is. And this is one of the most common surgeries done in the country. So I think Jeremy's point is an excellent one, that if we shift people to high deductible health plans, we know we're going to be shoving some people into a gap between what they have a good chance of having to pay versus what they can afford. So I don't see these so called voluntary supplemental programs as really voluntary, they're part of the crucial key coverage that people need. The other issue, Eli, that you alluded to, is the difficulty figuring out the healthcare system. And if people are going to be on an hdhp, they've got to also have some sort of help navigating the healthcare system. And that includes negotiating bills, figuring out what treatments really are and are not necessary. And figuring out what types of alternatives they can look at that might be less expensive and deliver equal quality care. The research is very clear that moving people over to high deductible health plans did not create a whole bunch of consumerism in healthcare that drove down costs, what it did do is drive down costs by driving down utilization. And unfortunately, some of the utilization that was driven down, were things that were unnecessary, but an equal amount of this decrease utilization was for care that really should have occurred based on best scientific evidence.

Eli Oake-libow:

We've covered a lot of ground here. So we started talking about how COVID has created, you know, a unique inflection point as far as employees engagement and understanding of their benefits and risks. But obviously, we've also talked about how there's a lot of challenges from you know, whether it's the plan design, that employers are offering, how we help engage and educate those employees, you know, things that employees have to be thinking about as they as they navigate the healthcare system. So a lot of challenges. But certainly, I think one of the positives and again, where we started was, we see greater engagement now in in people wanting to understand their benefits and find solutions to their own personal risk. But I think another thing we've seen as we're sort of starting to think about the upcoming fall Annual Enrollment season, most employers are not looking to make any changes to their plans. So it seems we sort of have, you know, a conflict at play where employees are going to be engaged and want to look for options and opportunities. And I think there's a lot of employers who are not looking to rock the boat. So I don't know, Jeremy, I guess, not looking for any sort of magic solution. But I mean, how do you think employers need to start thinking about Annual Enrollment this year, and is this year a different one for them as they start planning for it?

Jeremy Parr:

Yeah, I mean, Eli, the data is interesting. I mean, this is, this is an exciting time of year for me in the consulting business where we are looking at, you know, what people are saying about last year's enrollment and what they're planning to do for this year. And as you mentioned, if you look at the moment, I mentioned earlier, the statistics around the millennials, you know, almost half of millennials are interested in purchasing more life insurance. But you look at the contrast that 56% of employers are saying, they're not doing anything differently this year than they've done in previous years. And that's for, you know, you know, their own business reasons, right. I mean, the rehiring that's going on the unemployment, the, you know, the conflicts of budgets and resources and things of that nature. I think the main thing to point out is one, we have to stick to fundamentals right? I use a little bit of a an acronym here, when I talk about communication and education with employers, and that acronym is POP. And I encourage employers to engage people online and print resources to communicate their benefits, not only during annual enrollment, but on an ongoing basis. And use a combination of all three of those things to make sure that you're reaching all the demographics, all the preferences and the modes of of getting to your your employees, and educating them on financial wellness protections and how it all kind of mixes together. And then I think focusing on you know, making changes over time too and having a strategy, that's not just a one year strategy, oh, hey, this sounds like a good idea. Let's do this this year, right? be thinking two, three years out, if you look at our largest customers, you know, they just simply buy resources and geographics, right, they have to consider enrollment communication is really a three to five year plan, right? So really stepping out of just focusing on you know, what's hot today, stick with fundamentals, use a combination of people online and print resources to communicate your benefits and staying out, you know, ahead of what employees are saying on surveys about their benefits, and seeing if changes resonate with the employee population don't make a decision just based off of administration or, or budgeting as much as also understanding what the employees are saying and what they're what they're looking for.

Eli Oake-libow:

Yeah, great advice, Jeremy. And I think, you know, I would just add that from a carrier side, carriers also have a responsibility to help provide customers with data, you know, helping them understand what's happening with their employee population, you know, whether it's, you know, taking a deep dive into a census and looking at, you know, who's participating, what do you see as participation levels across age, demographics, salary cuts? You know, where are there gaps, where perhaps there are certain populations who aren't electing that potentially should, and I think, you know, helping them devise specific targeted strategies, if you see something in particular, that's glaring, you know, if you're seeing that people 35 and below are not participating in your, in your life insurance program, or a voluntary STD program, and really helping them understand. And I think the other piece of it is the other end, which is looking at the claims data, because, you know, it's one thing to look at a census that tells you what, what's happening with your population today. But the claims data also tells you how that ended up playing out. And I think sometimes it can be telling for an employer to sort of see that end to end story to understand, we've got participation issues, and then you look on the back end, and, you know, perhaps there's a life claim, you know, for a 35 year old parent, who has kids, and all they had was, you know, 10,000 or $20,000, in basic life. And, you know, that's a really unfortunate situation. So I think, you know, carriers have a responsibility to, to really help carry their end of the bargain, which is, which is providing the data and the insight.

Jeremy Parr:

You know, you lie, I'd like to give at least one more example of that, that I'm seeing, you know, more broadly, and it's something that, you know, at Lincoln, we're just trying to tackle as far as a voluntary program management perspective, is we usually when we look at that life insurance data, we also see not only participation, but benefit volumes, right? Are people electing the right level of benefits. And there's an inordinate amount of customers where if you look at their data, you'll see that most people just participate at the guaranteed issue level, which means that I don't need to complete a medical questionnaire, you know, I don't have to go through an extra process to purchase more insurance. And if you look at the millennial population, and we've been talking about that generation quite a bit, most of them if they do participate, they do elect the guaranteed issue level and they just move on. But I would argue that a majority of that population can very easily maximize or max out the life insurance program at the workplace, and you know, and be approved very easily, even automatically, right if they could complete that medical questionnaire online. So, you know, one thing that I also look in that data is when people are electing the benefits, where are they gravitating towards? And maybe the maybe the employer isn't doing themselves any favor, maybe they're telling the employees Oh, it's very simple, just elect the GI and move on, right, that guaranteed issue level and move on. So you don't have to do anything else, you know, figuring out how to maybe take that administrative burden on as the carrier to help that process out. So you get that population participating at the right levels, rather than just the convenient levels.

Eli Oake-libow:

Yeah, great point. Jeremy, I think a lot of people don't realize just how easy Evidence of Insura ility is these days? So it woul be unfortunate if folks are hinking that at some sort of ignificant burden to complete Evidence of Insurability. Glen , any any closing though s? Obviously, we've talked abo t a lot here. And I don t know if they're just any, ny last thoughts you have?

Dr. Glenn Pransky:

Yes, I think you've covered a lot of important topics here. When I think about the research on how do you get people to look at benefits, or any sort of health related choice like this differently. What's most engaging are real stories about people they know or people in their workplace that can make an impact. The other thing is that there has been several large national surveys showing that when benefits are offered, most employees really depend on their employer for advice. And they say that the employer is really their trusted source of information. And that can be very effective, especially if someone high up in the organization can say, these are the benefits that I chose. And this is why and this is why I made the effort to ensure that they are available to you too. So you know, COVID has been an awful thing from many, many perspectives. But one upside is that, as we've said, it really has gotten people to think a little bit more about their risk and the fact that the unexpected can happen. And I think that people are more receptive to suggestions about how to deal with that risk and protect themselves.

Eli Oake-libow:

Thanks, Glenn. I couldn't have said it better myself. Well, thank you, everyone. appreciate you joining us today. Thank you, Glenn. Thank you, Jeremy. Appreciate your your insight and participation.

Lauren Gawlik:

Thank you to our guests Dr. Glenn pranskey, Eli Oake-libow and Jeremy Parr for their insights and discussion on this important topic. To everyone listening. Thank you for joining us. We will continue to cover topics that help employers and their employees navigate this current environment. So be sure to subscribe to Lincoln Leads on Apple Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclosures:

Please remember that our content is advisory only The information contained in this podcast is for general use and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney or your human resource professional. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. Affiliates are separately responsible for their own financial and contractual obligations.