Brokers and Benefits Consultants Use Technology to Battle Rising Healthcare Costs

By USDR

Obamacare has completely changed the healthcare insurance industry as millions of Americans shop the public exchange in order to purchase a Qualified Health Insurance Plan for themselves and their dependents. While the number of Americans without health insurance coverage has decreased, employer-sponsored healthcare benefits have reached a financial tipping point as a result of rising healthcare costs.

Nonetheless, most employed individuals do and would rather participate in their employer-sponsored healthcare benefits and use their employer’s private exchange to select the healthcare insurance plan that best meets their needs. It is more convenient for employees to simply elect in their employer’s healthcare insurance offerings then to spend time shopping in the public exchange, comparing rates, and evaluating different providers. More than half of the U.S. population with health insurance were covered under employer-based insurance, in 2014, and the numbers are rising according to the latest research by  RAND.

The consumerization of health insurance has shifted the health benefits strategies of many employers. Now more than ever employers are seeking cost-effective methods of offering various health insurance plans to their employees.

Many employers have transferred much of the health insurance costs to employees by reducing employer contributions. While this may appear to be a solution to remain in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, this is not an effective or advantageous long-term approach to employee benefits affordability and administration.

Along with the numerous changes that have resulted from Obamacare and the public market, insurance brokers and benefits consultants have been successful in solving some of the greatest challenges in the benefits insurance industry.

Armed with their business acumen, insurance carrier relationships, and innovative, administration technologies, brokers and benefits consultants are helping facilitate employers in offering new health and wellness plans where the focus is not on helping employees when they are sick, but ensuring employees remain healthy and productive.

As intermediaries in the private exchange, benefits, and carrier matrix, brokers and benefits consultants are able to offer solutions that help employers of all sizes through the private exchange customization, administration, and communications services of technologies, such as Web Benefits Design’s full-service outsourcing solution.

 

In order to complete with the public exchange and their low-cost health insurance plans, employers are driving employee benefits participation through various wellness programs, incentives, and premium discounts. The focus on key health risks are the target of these programs, such as tobacco cessation, weight-loss, and increasing physical activity. For example, employers may provide employees a dollar-amount reimbursement by simply visiting a participating fitness facility or by successfully passing a biometric health screening.

Employees become excited about the corporate wellness initiative and the monetary compensation. Likewise, employers reduce their overall healthcare costs, increase worker productivity, and soon discover that fewer employees get sick.

The key to driving the success of employer wellness programs and the ability to offer a variety of different insurance products, while also reducing healthcare costs is by empowering employers with robust benefits administration systems that include an online employee enrollment interface and a benefits administration platform.

The Web Benefits Design integrated enrollment website and ben-admin system allows employers to customize their benefits product offerings according to employee classifications, as well as offer wellness programs and incentives all in one system.

Some employers want to offer wellness programs to their employees, but find it too challenging to coordinate with multiple vendors, transfer data, and compile results. Of course performing these tasks manually will push HR resources to the limit and even increase payroll expenses.

However, smart brokers and benefits consultants are coming to the rescue with robust, technological solutions, as well as additional services that are integrated. Benefits administration systems are able to be configured according to employers’ specific employee classifications and eligibility logic, as well as handle the calculation of different employee medical rates and transfer and track employees’ progress in wellness programs.

What’s more, one of the greatest difficulties human resources routinely face is employee education and communication. Having an integrated administration platform that retains all employee data and transactions enables HR staff to send batch email messages that communicate important benefit information, enrollment dates, and promote wellness plans and participation. Easy already-created email templates can be deployed or single emails can be sent to specific employees.

Educated employees are better able to elect in benefits options that are right for them, as well as understand the value of their benefits. Plus, sometimes all it takes is a little motivating message for people to create long-term healthier habits.

Through benefits administration technology and integrated services, brokers and benefits consultants are changing the employer-sponsored benefits landscape, helping to solve employers’ greatest benefits and financial challenges; which in turn, empowers employers to offer comprehensive benefits packages; which in turn, creates more meaningful employee benefits participation; which in turn, creates a healthier, more productive America.

Jessica Lynn Campbell is Marketing Executive and Content Writer for Web Benefits Design. She has a Master’s in English-Technical Communication, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and is currently obtaining a PH.D in Texts and Technology. Jessica is an expert and experienced technical communicator, author, and multi-media manager having been published on multiple media platforms including print and online. She is skilled in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Bluebook citation styles.

Web Benefits Design is a leading national employee benefits technology firm, who develops a complete, cloud-based employee benefits platform. The Web Benefit Design’s Total Access Exchange encompasses a highly complex, efficient, and integrated technology, administration, compliance, and communication platform written on a unified codebase. Jessica can be reached at jessica.campbell@wbdcorp.com or 407-810-7542.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.
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