Benefits Administration Is Broken – Here’s How to Fix It
What perceptions come to mind when you think of ‘human resources’?
The ‘Bobs’ from Office Space? Gary Irving from Silicon Valley? Toby Flenderson from The Office?
Though we know the common stereotypes of HR being out-of-touch and antiquated aren’t at all accurate—it’s no secret that human resources has traditionally been on the tail end of innovation. This lack of innovation has led to a benefits experience that’s riddled with cumbersome manual processes, unnecessary errors and a lot of confusion for employees and administrators… until now.
Employee benefits administration, in particular, is totally broken—but we’re on a mission to fix it. Before we dive into our revolutionary new program, let’s take a step back and explore how we got here.
Industries Disrupted by Tech
We mentioned employee benefits have traditionally been slow to adopt new technology. What industries are paving the way for disruption?
Boutique travel agencies have given way to digital planning sites like Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Trivago, etc.
Taxis have given way to ridesharing apps. The autonomous vehicle market will grow from $54B to $557B in 2026.
Music has experienced an extreme shift from physical to digital sales and music festivals have grown to provide an immersive experience.
Retailers shut 2,870 stores in the first half of 2019. Consumers spent $142.5 billion online during Cyber Weekend in 2019.
The shared goal among all of these companies? To deliver a better interaction at every touchpoint.
Consumers expect more from companies today. They expect to be delighted when interacting with technology and they expect information to be in real time.
How They Did It
You’re probably familiar with at least a few of the companies we just mentioned, and the innovation in their particular space is admirable. But how did they do it?
From airline check-in to grocery store checkouts, self-service is now the first choice of consumers.
Claims paid in 3 seconds by peer-to-peer lending companies, meals delivered in minutes by tech companies connecting customers to restaurants.
Ride-sharing apps connect consumers to drivers in seconds.
Consumers have access to every TV show and movie ever made.
Allow companies to deliver more relevant and effective experiences.
Ease of Use
Customers expect delightful experiences when they interact with your brand.
Why The Benefit Administration Industry Is Broken
How do employee benefits compare? As it turns out, not so great.
The benefits industry has historically been plagued with manual, time-consuming processes that result in discrepancies, timing issues and administrative burdens for human resources. HR teams report spending one week per month manually reconciling carrier-provided bills, batch EDI files create data discrepancies and timing errors, and manual EOI processes create administrative hassle and risk for employees.
Additionally, the cost of providing benefits continues to increase. The average family medical premium has increased 54% in the last ten years! Employers typically pick up 70% of that cost.
On top of that, HR teams are expected to deliver more than ever. The average company offers 15 different benefits. 75% of HR professionals indicate that their workload is increasing, and HR professionals now dedicate less than 20% of their time on strategic business initiatives.
Despite all of these efforts, employees are more disengaged than ever. The employee shopping and enrollment experience is disjointed and confusion is rampant. 96% of Americans don’t understand basic insurance terminology, and the average employee spends only 18 minutes shopping for and enrolling in benefits.
How We’re Driving Change—Introducing PlanSource Boost
The benefits administration industry as a whole is clearly broken, but we’ve embarked on a mission to radically transform the industry.
We’re achieving this goal with PlanSource Boost, a groundbreaking new program created to modernize the customer experience.
PlanSource Boost is breaking down barriers and addressing several of the biggest problems in benefits administration with four core tenants:
1.) Preferred Pricing
Simple pricing for PlanSource’s benefits technology. There will be two different prices for PlanSource moving forward: Boost and non-Boost.
Boost pricing applies when one or more new or existing fully-insured products are offered from a Boost carrier. That’s it! We’re eliminating confusing credits that differ from carrier to carrier, previously known as PlanSource Advantage (PSA).
Existing customers will be transitioned to the Boost program over the coming months.
2.) Optimized Employee Shopping
We’ve invested in a brand new team dedicated to optimizing the employee shopping experience. Our new consumer marketing team incorporates best practices from the world of psychology and behavioral economics to make the Boost experience as personalized and engaging as possible. Educational materials, tips and best practices from Boost partners are built into the shopping experience to guide employees to the right benefits. Additionally, PlanSource Analytics will provide meaningful insights to help teams further optimize the experience.
3.) Modern API Connections
API is replacing EDI—it’s just a matter of time. We are blazing trails by being the first benefits administration platform to build API integrations with the nation’s top insurance carriers.
PlanSource Boost includes four specific APIs for lightning fast data transmission:
- Configuration API: Automates the setup and renewal process by automatically syncing benefit plans, features and rates, reducing setup time and eliminating errors.
- Enrollment API: Real-time API for enrollment transactions, eliminating batch EDI files and related timing issues.
- Evidence of Insurability (EOI): Employees can seamlessly complete EOI questionnaires within the benefits shopping experience, decisions are automatically updated in PlanSource and notifications are sent to the employees and HR teams.
- Member Portal and Provider Directory Access API: Employees will be able to seamlessly access carrier-provided directories and member information within the benefits shopping experience.
4.) Simplified Self-Billing
With Boost, PlanSource is the system of record for enrollment and billing. Invoices are auto-generated monthly within the PlanSource system. From there, customers pay PlanSource directly and we pay the Boost partners on their behalf. We also answer all billing-related questions and concerns—essentially handling the full billing reconciliation process from start to finish.
Learn more about Boost and how you can get involved at plansource.com/boostintro.
Integrations and Timelines
So, how does Boost work, and when will these great tools be accessible to the market?
The price of PlanSource is the same no matter which Boost carrier a customer chooses. By leveling the playing field from a pricing perspective, we’re allowing the carriers to compete on their individual value—not on tech credits. This will ultimately provide a better experience for the customer as it puts each carrier and their unique value prop front and center.
We are excited to have 12 of the nation’s top carriers on board for Boost.
What’s available today? Three of the four tenets of Boost are live and available today: preferred pricing, simplified self-billing, and the optimized employee shopping experience. We have retired the previous PlanSource Advantage (PSA) credit-based program.
APIs are the most aggressive investment of Boost. In general, we have a staggered timeline for carriers to launch their respective APIs over the next 12-18 months.
Guardian was the first Boost carrier to join us, and their entire Boost integration will be complete and live by fall 2020. The rest will follow between the end of 2020 and 2021.
See a full list of our Boost partners and integration timelines at plansource.com/partners.
Won’t You Join Us?
If you’re a mover and shaker interested in totally revolutionizing your approach to benefits administration—let’s chat.
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