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A Closer Look at Benefits Administration in H1 2016: Part 3

In the third and final blog in the series examining the benefits administration market, I take a quick look at what health & welfare (H&W) services vendors have done recently to improve the participant experience.

Historically, choice within employer-sponsored health plans has been limited, and the need to provide an engaging participant experience was non-existent. Employers’ attempts to control the rising costs of healthcare, as well as healthcare reform, has created choice for employees, especially for those whose company was an early adopter of private exchanges.

The changes in the healthcare landscape have forced participants to take more accountability for their medical coverage. Just as we experienced with the move from DB to DC plans, as the responsibility shifts, so the need to provide tools and resources for participants increases.

For example, Xerox’s initiatives with its private exchange have focused on driving more participant engagement at the right time through its partnership with Evive. With Evive’s predictive analytics technology, Xerox will be able to prioritize and deliver personalized messages to RightOpt’s enrollees at a time when it will be relevant to the individual.   

Mercer is also making enhancements to its private exchange, Mercer Marketplace, including building a database to analyze activities, which can then be tied to driving certain outcomes. Other initiatives are around voluntary benefits in both Mercer Marketplace and its traditional H&B administration business, and creating pre-packaged enrollment options for individuals based on questionnaires and algorithms.

For vendors, maintaining compliance is a fundamental requirement, and here many vendors are trying to leverage robotics were possible, e.g. communications within Xerox’s ACA compliance offering, HealthAct, have been automated to drive improvement. 

As for the future, participants can look forward to the integration of health and wealth, with vendors including Aon Hewitt and Xerox exploring how these two areas will come together. And for companies, global benefits will take on a more prominent position.

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