May 20, 2021
The Future of Benefits Administration Platforms: Centralizing the Employee Experience
Basic health insurance ✅
Paid time off ✅
Employee benefits, once mostly a collection of must-check boxes, have transformed into multifaceted rewards programs, customizable to meet the needs of each employee and a key differentiator in recruitment and retention. Ancillary benefits such as pet insurance, gym memberships, and financial assistance programs are becoming the norm, fueling higher expectations for what employees receive, beyond compensation, from their employers. The enhancement and personalization of employee benefits, however, has caused a ripple effect throughout the world of benefits administration (BenAdmin) platforms.
The ways in which BenAdmins have adapted to this new dynamic offer a predictive glimpse into the future of this crucial sector. Just the basics—health insurance enrollment, management of paid time off (PTO), etc.—will no longer cut it. Instead, forward-thinking BenAdmins are preparing for the future: all-in-one platforms that integrate all elements of the employee experience into a centralized system.
From payroll, dental insurance and 401(k)s to FSAs, wellness programs, retirement plans, stock options and student loan repayment, BenAdmins of the future will consolidate all relevant information within one central platform. Those who succeed will not only be incredibly agile—easily adding the hottest non-core benefits of the day—they will be perceived as incredibly agile, representing a major differentiator. They will possess personalized data and insights to share with employees so they can make more-informed decisions about health and benefits products.
So what is the future of benefits administration? In a word, unified. A single system to rule them all. No employee—and, for that matter, no broker or employer—wants one system of record for health insurance, another to manage stock options, and still another to review HSA balances and employee assistance programs (EAP).
Although tying all of these components together into a single platform will become an essential differentiator between BenAdmins, certain features are gaining in popularity and will ultimately be expected by employees. Here are three trending features that will be an important part of all future BenAdmin platforms:
- Healthcare concierge services help employees navigate the complexities of our healthcare system, from recommending providers and facilities based on quality and cost, to minimizing healthcare spend by redirecting employees to, for example, an in-network urgent care facility.
- BenAdmins of the future must consider employee wellness a vital piece of the benefits package. Mental health assistance, financial wellness programs, and telehealth services should be easily accessible and integrated into the centralized employee experience.
- Personalized ancillary benefits provide employees with the opportunity to select the non-core benefits that best fit their needs and interests. Some might prefer a gym membership and pet insurance to an HSA, and others may deem student loan assistance a prerequisite for any job offer. More choices, more benefits, more customization—that’s a key pillar of the future of benefits administration.
The future of benefits administration is truly limitless, but it can only reach its unified, all-in-one potential if, on the back-end, BenAdmins have agility and connectivity. Agility because, inevitably, new benefits options—perhaps even entirely new benefits categories—will become popular as younger employees enter the workforce and expect benefits packages to align with their interests. To remain competitive, BenAdmins will need a scalable method to integrate these benefits quickly and efficiently.
Connectivity enables BenAdmins to exchange group and employee-level data with carriers and other benefits providers, such as telehealth, gyms and wellness companies. BenAdmin connectivity is the first step in bringing the full employee benefits experience onto one platform, allowing employees to enroll in and manage benefits across a variety of carriers, lines of coverage, and products. Historically, carrier and benefit provider connectivity has been technically and operationally challenging for BenAdmins. But today, APIs offer BenAdmins a lifeline to simplified, flexible and scalable connectivity with multiple parties.
To learn more about how APIs can streamline connectivity in the benefits ecosystem and prepare BenAdmin platforms for the future, contact Ideon for a consultation.