Ideon Names Benefits and Technology Leader Steve Swad as CEO

Co-founder Dan Langevin promoted to President and Chief Technology Officer

NEW YORK — Ideon, the leader in data and connectivity solutions for carriers and benefits technology platforms, today announced Steve Swad as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. In a complementary move, Ideon co-founder Dan Langevin has been promoted to President and CTO.

Swad brings decades of C-level leadership experience from the employee benefits industry and various high-profile technology and media companies. Previously, Swad led Benefitfocus, a top benefits administration platform, as its CEO before its acquisition by Voya Financial. Swad’s impressive career also includes roles as CEO of Rosetta Stone, COO of Apptopia, and CFO positions at Vox Media, Comverse Technology, and AOL.

Langevin, co-founder of Ideon and its CTO since 2014, has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s technology and advancing its business. He has emerged as a prominent figure and innovator in the benefits sector, with a focus on API development and bringing modern efficiency and automation to the industry. His appointment as President and CTO reflects his vital contributions to Ideon’s technology and his influence on the company’s broader vision.

“I’m thrilled to join Ideon due to the company’s innovative products, exceptional leadership team, and the significant opportunity we have helping the benefits industry modernize its technology,” Swad said. “Ideon stands out for its potential to transform benefits data exchange, unite this intricate ecosystem of stakeholders, and enhance the benefits experience for millions of people. Also, I’m excited to partner with Dan, whose expertise and vision have been instrumental to Ideon’s journey and the industry at large.”

“I’m deeply honored by this new role and excited for Ideon’s future,” said Langevin. “Working alongside Steve, I’m confident we’ll lead Ideon to even greater success. Our shared vision and complementary skills will unlock new opportunities and deliver unprecedented value to our customers.”

These leadership updates mark a significant milestone for Ideon as it continues to revolutionize how carriers and benefits technology platforms connect and exchange data. Over the past year, in addition to broadening its product suite, Ideon has secured contracts with new partners and grown relationships with industry leaders including Guardian, Pacific Life, Beam, Rippling, BambooHR, HealthJoy, Gusto, and Connecture. Under the strengthened leadership structure, Ideon is poised to accelerate its progress and expand its impact on modernizing the health and benefits industry.

About Ideon

Ideon is the way health insurance carriers and employee benefits providers connect with technology partners to deliver seamless consumer experiences at every stage of the member journey. Ideon is not the websites or apps one uses to choose a plan or find a doctor. It is the infrastructure, the ‘pipes,’ that simplify the complex exchange of quoting, enrollment, and eligibility data between carriers and the technology partners so that they can, in turn, deliver health and employee benefits to hundreds of millions of Americans everyday. Ideon’s APIs transmit billions of data points between InsurTechs and insurance carriers, powering an amazing benefits experience for all. To learn more, please visit: www.ideonapi.com.

Ideon Insights: Pacific Life execs on building a digitally-native benefits division

Welcome to Episode 4 of Ideon Insights, our monthly interview series featuring thought leaders and innovators driving the benefits industry forward. In this episode, we talked with two leaders from Pacific Life’s new workforce benefits division, Bram Spector (CFO) and TJ Clayton (Head of Partner Management).

In this Q&A, Bram and TJ discuss building a digitally-native, startup-like benefits provider, backed by the resources and reputation of a 155-year-old insurance giant. They also explain why the benefits experience is ripe for digital innovation, how digital connectivity fueled Pacific Life’s go-to-market strategy, the role of Ideon, and their vision for the future.

Watch the full episode of Ideon Insights here. Below we’ve highlighted key moments from the conversation.

IDEON: Why did Pacific Life enter the benefits industry?

BRAM SPECTOR: Pacific Life has legacy and a track record of incubating and building new businesses. Our corporate strategy team spent a couple years evaluating options, various markets that we weren’t in previously, and ultimately made the decision that employee benefits was the place where we wanted to invest in building a new business.

Our strategy started by assembling a team of folks from across the group insurance industry who had spent the last 10, 15, 20 years of their careers in carrier roles and wanted an opportunity to deliver exceptional experiences to customers. We built a team that was focused on solving our customers’ biggest issues, then we did a ton of research to validate the pain points today across the industry.

We spent a lot of time challenging ourselves to understand why our competitors have not been able to solve those challenges. And then we architected our strategy around a series of experiences that are designed to make our customers’ and stakeholders’ lives better.

IDEON: Walk us through your initial launch strategy… what were your priorities?

BRAM SPECTOR: Ultimately, we decided to build the business based on a couple of key principles. One, we want to operate like a startup — agile, move quick, use an MVP-based approach to get to market. And two, we’re focused on building a digitally-native workforce benefits business. We’re also thrilled to launch with three technology partners: Employee Navigator, ADP, and Selerix.

IDEON: What does it mean to be a digitally-native benefits provider?

TJ CLAYTON: When we think about being digitally native, the key is not to just be digital for digital sake. What are the pain points, the friction points that brokers and employers experience all day, every day? That’s what we want to solve with a digitally-native approach.

What are the pain points around billing, around commissions, around setting up cases, enrollment, and file feeds? What are the challenges that make this industry what it is, and how do we turn those things on their head via a digitally native experience? We set out to solve problems, not to just put a digital label on a new logo and a new company.

BRAM SPECTOR: We’ve got the benefit of starting with a completely blank slate from an architecture perspective. We’re making sure we take advantage of that opportunity to really architect our experiences and our business processes in a way that supports our customers.

IDEON: What parts of the benefits experience did Pacific Life focus on initially?

BRAM SPECTOR: We heard resoundingly that the industry’s billing experience is terrible. It’s challenging, and frankly, it shouldn’t be. Onboarding, or customer implementation, is another issue that customers consistently have said is a pain point and a challenge. So we’ve got the opportunity to set a great first impression if we do that implementation right, and to set ourselves up for a successful customer relationship.

IDEON: From an API, digital connectivity standpoint, where have you prioritized development?

TJ CLAYTON: We’ve invested significantly in building API connections with key technology partners. The functionality that excites me the most is that first initial step, the case set up. We’re able to set up a case in 30 minutes or less with a click of a few buttons and an API pulling all of that information right out of Pacific Life’s core system, right into our partner system.

What used to be days, sometimes weeks of manually keying in eligibility rules and rates, class mapping, not to mention the error-prone nature of manual data entry — all the things you’d have to do just to get someone ready for enrollment — we’re making it happen almost in real-time.

IDEON: How does partnering with Ideon fit into Pacific Life’s digital connectivity strategy?

TJ CLAYTON: For us, it’s about getting out into the market quicker with more partners. If there was a time where we had a disconnect between our shared values, technically, and someone else’s, Ideon can help bridge that gap.

Obviously, we prefer to receive data via API, because we believe that that’s the way of the future and that’s going to differentiate us. If a partner is not ready to send data in that manner, but there’s other reasons why we should work with that partner and Ideon can help bridge that gap in terms of enrollment data exchange, well, then there’s a great fit right there. So for us, choosing to partner with Ideon was about helping us get out in the marketplace with more partners, in a technically advanced way. 

IDEON: Why is offering a great digital experience so important in the benefits industry?

BRAM SPECTOR: We want to simplify that experience so members can spend more time taking care of themselves, taking care of their families, instead of filling out endless forms to get their claims fulfilled.

Additionally, we’re looking to simplify the lives of brokers. While a lot of our digital experiences aren’t designed specifically for them, our connectivity strategy is designed to help make their lives easier. We’re simplifying the administration of benefits so that they can focus their time, their energy, and their limited capacity on helping their customers make the right decisions around how to protect their employees.

IDEON: What’s next for Pacific Life’s Workforce Benefits Division?

TJ CLAYTON: More partners, but not every partner. When I think about where we’re starting: no legacy technology, no legacy tech stack, the ability to have APIs throughout the whole value chain, but who’s ready to go on that journey with us? It’s not everyone. We want to bring the industry and bring the ecosystem along with us.

 

Stay tuned for new episodes of Ideon Insights each month. Subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in-the-know about Ideon and receive our latest content directly to your inbox.

Ideon Insights: Guardian’s Josh Weaver on APIs and digital partnerships

Welcome to Episode 3 of Ideon Insights, our monthly interview series featuring thought leaders and innovators driving the benefits industry forward. In this episode, we sat down with Josh Weaver, Head of Digital Ecosystem & Partner Management at Guardian Life, a leading provider of life, disability, dental, and vision insurance and other group benefits.

In this Q&A, Josh explains how Guardian leverages technology to enhance the benefits experience, their focus on API connectivity and strategic tech partner selection, and their collaboration with middleware solutions like Ideon. He also dives into Guardian’s real-time quoting capabilities, winning business in today’s small group market, and more.

Watch the full episode of Ideon Insights here. Below we’ve highlighted five key moments from the conversation.

IDEON: How do you evaluate and choose benefits technology partners?

JOSH WEAVER: To me, it all starts with value. Guardian is really focused on the overall well-being of our plan holders. So really, the first piece is, you want partners that are focused on the same thing. Are these partners focused on really improving the experience for our plan holders? Number two, we think about the entire lifecycle of a member, and really how do we, through connectivity, engage with these partners—API preferred—to create a better experience than Guardian could provide alone.

 

Do you select partners based on their connectivity capabilities?

If you’re not an API-enabled partner, there has to be a very unique value prop you’re bringing to market for us to want to partner with you in a commercial or a more strategic manner. If I fast forward five, six, seven years from now, I think you’re going to see API connectivity is replacing EDI.

So really, if you’re not on a modern technology stack, then you’re not necessarily the companies that we’re looking to partner with moving forward. 

 

​​Does connectivity impact which carrier a group chooses?

Benefits are still an extremely important part of the conversation. But it’s also around, as an employer, how does working with Guardian make my life easier? Do they work with my benefit administration platform? Do they offer online EOI or EOI API?

You’re seeing plan holders and brokers, when they’re recommending carriers to clients, they’re looking at not just what benefit package makes the most sense, but really what’s going to fit all of their needs. You’re seeing the technology, and that ecosystem-partnership piece, being just as important as the benefits conversation. If you have a subpar value prop with a platform, oftentimes the broker is not even going to recommend you or even look to quote you.

 

How does Ideon fit into Guardian’s digital strategy?

Guardian has the ability, through Ideon, to connect with multiple platforms that, for us to connect with each one of these individually, it’d be such a massive investment and endeavor. Working through Ideon allows us to get with more platforms faster.

As a carrier, there are only so many API connections you can build. So, the middleware allows us to access a greater number of platforms, which ultimately empowers the employer to be able to pick a broader set of platforms that are going to work well with Guardian. From our perspective, engaging with middleware really is about reaching more clients in the ecosystem they choose.

Just through the lens of BenAdmin and enrollment, the more connectivity you have, the better. There may be a reason that an employer chose a platform that Guardian is not integrated directly with. That’s fine. And that’s where the middleware allows us to really have that connectivity and expand our portfolio.

 

What digital solutions has Guardian implemented in the small group space?

I think an area that we’re really starting to push into—and push forward with Ideon—is really around real-time quoting capabilities. For us, if we think about the small group segment, a lot of brokers and group general agencies want to be empowered to self-quote, they want to be able to do it on their own time, on their platform.

And so really, utilizing that real-time quoting technology is an area that we are continuing to focus on. We feel like to create that shop through purchase through implemented-with-Guardian experience, where it’s a one-touch sales process, quoting technology is important. It can be a differentiator in the market.

 

Stay tuned for new episodes of Ideon Insights each month. Subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in-the-know about Ideon and receive our latest content directly to your inbox.

How BenAdmin Platforms Setup Carrier Connections in 5 Days

In the competitive world of benefits administration, setting up carrier connections can be an operational nightmare. What if you had a strategic guide to a better process?

This infographic is a gameboard for a BenAdmin’s operational life. Read it, play along, and compare two pathways side-by-side:

  • Navigate the EDI path: This industry standard typically takes an 8-12 week journey filled with building and testing files, errors, and constant communication with carriers.
  • Take a shortcut and win with API-powered connectivity: This alternate route reduces connection setup to around five days, optimizing your operational efficiency.

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How technology partnerships improve member experience and the bottom line

Watch the Webinar
On Demand

Today’s leading carriers leverage an expansive (and growing) benefits technology ecosystem. But choosing and integrating with the right partners can be challenging.

In this webinar, Ideon hosts executives from Prudential, PlanSource, and Brella to discuss how carriers successfully develop robust 3rd-party partnership strategies to meet members’ needs and increase revenue.

Discussion points include:

  • Balancing in-house development with external technology partnerships
  • Meeting members where they are (the case for carrier-BenTech partnerships)
  • Industry-leading examples of successful carrier-BenTech partnerships
  • Key challenges in choosing the right partners, and integrating with external systems

 

 

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An API Road Map for Insurance Carriers

More and more carriers are adopting APIs to support fast, accurate data exchange with benefits administration platforms.

Why? Because API-powered enrollment and eligibility experiences are quickly becoming key carrier advantages.

But carriers focused on API development need a proven road map to follow, because the sequence is as critical as the API functionality.

 

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Introducing the Ideon Dashboard for real-time visibility of enrollment data

At Ideon, we’re dedicated to facilitating seamless enrollments and data exchange for our carrier and benefits platform customers. That means not only maintaining the fast, accurate, and scalable connections they expect, but also providing greater transparency and visibility—qualities that have been lacking in our industry.

That’s why we’re excited to introduce a major enhancement to our product suite: the Ideon Dashboard, a powerful new interface that compliments our existing API endpoints. With enhanced monitoring of group implementation statuses and the ability to submit, track, and resolve issues, this dashboard brings unparalleled visibility, efficiency, and collaboration to Ideon’s enrollment customers.

The dashboard enables effective three-way collaboration between carriers, benefits platforms, and Ideon, allowing for the swift resolution of issues when they arise. It eliminates the clutter of email threads and ensures no issues are overlooked, all in a centralized, user-friendly tool that keeps all parties in the loop.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features.

 

Improved Visibility with the Enrollment Tasks Manager

Historically, setting up and managing group enrollments required numerous steps and lots of back-and-forth communication between carriers and benefits platforms. Ideon’s dashboard changes this equation. Carriers and platforms can now access real-time updates on the status of enrollment data that’s been loaded into Ideon’s system. This added visibility minimizes confusion and prevents potential delays in member enrollment.

At a glance, customers can get an immediate overview of their data across all groups, including details such as carrier-specific identifiers and coverage start and end dates. For each coverage period, they can monitor the status and owner of all completed and upcoming setup tasks. 

Tasks can be assigned to specific users from the platform, Ideon, or the carrier, ensuring there’s alignment on next steps and responsibilities. Additionally, comments and attachments can be added to each task, providing necessary context and encouraging collaboration. This not only eliminates lengthy email exchanges but expedites the process of getting groups live.

Through the transparency and visibility provided by the Enrollment Tasks Manager, Ideon customers will always be informed about the status of their groups. They’ll have accurate and up-to-date information to share with members, brokers, and HR teams, ensuring a better enrollment experience with clear timelines and expectations.

Efficient Issue Resolution with the Customer Ticketing System

As carriers and benefits platforms’ operational teams know all too well, issues are bound to happen in our industry, whether it’s discrepant group information, a member inquiry, or another pressing matter.

The Ideon Dashboard offers streamlined issue resolution with its intuitive Customer Ticketing System. It centralizes communication and collaboration, allowing customers to easily submit, track, and resolve their questions, concerns, and escalations. With everything in one place, scattered communication channels like Slack and email are eliminated, and tickets are monitored right alongside the groups they belong to.

For each ticket, customers can provide notes, severity info, and useful attachments or documentation. Comment threads help maintain individualized communication with Ideon, and watcher functionality and email notifications keep customers in-the-know at all times.

Conclusion

The Ideon Dashboard is a powerful addition to Ideon’s enrollment solution, providing greater levels of visibility, efficiency, and collaboration to carriers and platforms—both during group setup and in production.

The new interface is designed to enhance the overall transparency and effectiveness of working with Ideon in a secure, centralized way. But it’s meant to complement, not replace Ideon’s suite of APIs.

All data and functionality offered by the dashboard are also available via Ideon’s existing API endpoints and webhooks. Using these features, our customers can seamlessly integrate status updates and other information into their own tooling and user experience. It’s all part of the unrivaled enrollment experience that Ideon delivers to our customers, their operations teams, and, ultimately, members, employers, and brokers.

Schedule a demo

The Ideon Dashboard has already seen great success among several of our carrier and benefits platform customers, and we can’t wait to show you all of its features. You can watch a short demo above, or reach out to schedule a personalized walkthrough.