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Like many of you, I’m preparing for a week of Thanksgiving leftovers (a 22-pound turkey for a family of three may take us awhile…), holiday shopping at my favorite local businesses and planning for what’s next in 2021.


I think it’s safe to say we are all fairly ready to say goodbye to 2020, but realistically, we all know that the start of 2021 may not feel all that different. But my expertise is in product and marketing and that means my head is always thinking 6-12 months from now. What’s next? Where do we need to take our technology to meet the next need? How do we stay in front of the ever-changing benefits landscape?

With 2021 right around the corner, there are several things I’m watching closely.

COBRA and Direct Bill trends

I’ve kept close watch on our COBRA and Leave of Absence trends on our Benefits Pulse. While we are no longer seeing the drastic changes from spring, the last few weeks have shown an increase in both for the first time in over two months.

COBRA and Direct Bill is going to get VERY interesting when the public health emergency ends. While that may not be happening tomorrow, with a vaccine more concretely in our future, we may very well see the end of the emergency in 2021 and with that, many actions will need to be taken by employers when the DOL regulations currently in place expire.

And with the number of people on COBRA going up in 2021, this will be an important consideration when reviewing benefits technologies that can handle the complexities you may be facing to manage these regulations.

Access to medical care

Luckily, over the last month or so, we have finally seen the number of people who have access to medical benefits go up according to the benefits pulse. While this is wonderful, another item we know from the current landscape is that people are not using their medical benefits as they had intended in 2020. Whether it was due to elective surgeries being postponed or people forgoing preventative care to avoid the doctor’s office, many predict that 2021 will see an increase in those seeking care.

And with that, will see in increase in spend. It will be incredibly important to ensure that employees are using their medical benefits as they should – meaning in-network providers, high quality services, avoiding the Emergency Room when unnecessary and more. Personalization and targeted communications will be an important part of getting employees access to the right care. Our latest e-book, Deferred Care Impact, provides some important tips.

Recruitment and Retention

Hear me out. While recruitment and retention may have been far from your mind for much of 2020, experts predict there will be a resurgence in 2021 and that this will move right back up on the priority list. That’s why we continue to build out our Total Rewards capabilities. Your benefits programs are a BIG part of an employee’s total compensation package and many employers are looking for ways to amplify Total Rewards as a whole.

As a benefits technology, we will continue our increased focus on building out our Total Rewards functionality that exists in the same place as employees enroll in benefits. This provides them one place to manage, select and activate their benefits from… reducing confusion and increasing awareness.

While 2020 was one for the books, I’m ready to welcome 2021 with new challenges, fresh perspectives and a glass (or two…) of champagne.

Watch our webinar below. 

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