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The Three E's Of Benefit Technology

Why has the insurance industry so far behind when it comes to technology and the member experience? If you can, think back to the 1980s. Bank customers had to physically go to the branch and stand in line at inconvenient hours in order to deal with their finances. Direct deposit has been around for over 30 years and so have ATMs. Since then, the banking industry has evolved, providing consumers multiple platforms—laptops, tablets, mobile phones—through which to access their money. The lesson here is that the banking industry didn’t abandon any of the previous methods of the customer experience—they just expanded access to meet consumer expectations. Isn’t it time for the benefits industry to catch up to the modern technology experience that today’s user expects?

Our client strategy at OneDigital is to engage, educate, and empower employees in the benefit purchasing decision in order to help simplify their healthcare journey.

Engage – The demand to streamline the administration has never been greater due to the complexity of benefit offerings. More employees work remotely, spouses can’t attend traditional open enrollment meetings, and millennials expect instant enrollment. To create the best mix of offerings, we encourage our clients to conduct mid-year employee surveys to foster a collaborative environment, and to provide a substantive analysis of programs and benefits. The results set the stage for offering meaningful plan designs, better understanding and appreciation of the benefit plan, introduction of new benefits, and tailoring a communication platform to fit everyone’s needs. The key is to provide a multi-pronged approach for your employees to transition their enrollment experience from paper to online. In a recent MetLife Study of Employee Benefits, researchers found that engaged employees are more than twice as likely to appreciate the range of benefits offered.

Educate – Today, benefits are more complicated, employers provide more choices, and costs continue to increase for your employees. Employees want their enrollment experience to mirror other online retailers—think Amazon for benefits enrollment. Our clients are now providing a multi-pronged approach of communication to deliver a clear and consistent message through our benefit administration portals. These systems provide personalized benefits and ease of enrollment. The emerging trend in voluntary benefits has also increased tremendously and employees want to learn more about plans for accident, critical illness, pet insurance, home and auto insurance, legal services, identity theft protection and more. Employee education and communication must occur using many different methods throughout the year such as newsletters, lunch and learn sessions, videos, webinars and personal presentations to enhance employee satisfaction.

Empower – When we collaborate with employers and employees in the creation of the benefit package, the goal is to enhance the benefit experience and the perception of the benefits available. Employers only offering “traditional” benefits are seeing lower employee satisfaction, and employees are feeling that they aren’t part of the solution. Employees of all ages are expecting a “full menu” of ancillary benefits – even if they have to pay for them. Affordable benefit administration portals are building a bridge to the voluntary marketplace to increase employee satisfaction and reduce HR administration to achieve that goal. Many carriers recognize this trend and respond by offering enhanced benefits, reduced costs, and lower participation levels. From baby boomers to millennials, a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits is no longer a solution. Our Benefit Advisors will tailor a solution for your company and get them excited about their benefits.

What’s next? We need our carrier partners to catch up with technology systems and to “open the administrative doors” for all sized employers to allow transmission of benefit elections for employees.

Let’s work together to develop an employee engagement, education, and empowerment strategy for your next renewal or sooner. Our benefit enrollment and communication solutions simplify and enhance the enrollment experience for our clients and their employees with the primary goal of helping our HR partners get back to managing people…not paper!