Benefits and the role of Technology
For better or worse, the introduction of technology has changed the benefits landscape. Now, benefit providers need to hone in on the employee experience. Legacy systems and clunky technology stand out poorly in the app-based world, and the employee benefits space needs to continue modernizing.
Benefits are complicated! I remember when my only exposure to benefits was when I had a company and provided employee benefits. I could read the booklets and view the coverage, but I never understood the benefits until I used them. It’s been commonplace to hear “80% of companies need the same benefits,” and while it seems that there are many variations of benefit offerings, as you start to dissect them, they are all the same.
Insurtech has done exactly what it was supposed to do in creating a gateway for both the consumer and employee to understand their benefit offerings, but, in doing so, other issues have arisen.
By educating the customer, it allows them to comment on their benefits offerings. By embracing the technology, employees become a part of the buying decisions – discussing what they want with co-workers and their employer. When benefits were just insurance, employees were not walking around comparing 80-100 percent dental or having vision coverage or no vision. Now, with things like wellness items, telemedicine, and even pet insurance, they are intrigued by their offerings and more willing to discuss what they love and what they hate.
While the consumers are comparing notes, most carriers are not. We as an industry are not clear on what is working and what is liked, used, or disliked, and therefore we are still guessing.
So, what is the perfect benefit plan?
The expectation of the employer has become increasingly difficult, in turn making it harder for the advisor. When the employees are expecting things out of their benefit plan that has breached the boundaries of your typical insurance plan, it becomes increasingly difficult for the advisor and the employer to build the perfect plan. With the lack of data available, it is tough to know what employees want without forgetting key things like Life and Disability.
The consumer expectation is moving to a consumer-driven marketplace.
Employees actively want more out of their plan, and they are embracing plan solutions that let them decide what they want to include. In the background, they want the protection that the advisor and employer can collectively build for them in the plan. Providing communication of the program at its core and with employees choosing through an interactive marketplace – as featured on the myHSA platform – is key. But, providing the core protection in the background creates an overall strong plan. Plans are rebuilt to accomplish rate stability and protection while allowing employees to help design their plans.
Where do we see benefits going?
The 80% rule is going away. Plans will become more distinct per company rather than per industry. Digital tools will help with data dissection and inherently help with the plan design. The consumer and the advisor will help build the perfect benefits plan for their company.
Founder & CEO, myHSA