October! Where has time gone?!
Like many of you, we are in full on AE mode here at Businessolver. And as I’m sure many of you can relate, for me, this is the most stressful and time consuming time of year but also the most rewarding.
From a product perspective, we are kicking off development on our Q4 priorities while also solidifying our roadmap priorities for 2021 and beyond. It’s exciting to think about where our technology will be 12 months for now. But to get there, we need to first understand what the needs of our client and their employees are today.
I’ve been leaning on a couple of resources as I think through our strategy and solutions for the months and years to come.
I continue to watch the Benefits Pulse. It gives me an indication of how workplace benefits are trending and perhaps some of the key considerations we need solve for in 2021.
It can be difficult at times to see some numbers make no progress. For example, the 3% loss of medical coverage (since March 16) has not changed in months. Meaning there is a still a population of employees who are not able to get back to work. What does this mean for them and how are they getting the critical benefits they need?
However, on the positive side, the active population on Benefitsolver continues to go up, slow and steady. We certainly hope this is a positive trend as organizations begin to reopen and people are finding new ways to adapt to our current environment.
As I think about how this impacts our product roadmap, I consider how ICHRA may play a larger role for organizations who are looking for a different way to manage their medical spend and perhaps provide medical benefits to more employees.
Mid-COVID benefits insights
If you follow the blog, you know that we recently released two special reports that detail employee’s current state of finances and benefits literacy. This data was gathered from our decision support tool, the MyChoice Recommendation Engine, during spring and summer annual enrollments.
Here are some key stats that stand out to me:
- Prior to the pandemic, just over a third of employees indicated they were confused about their benefits. By contrast, almost 40% of employees making enrollment choices after the onset of COVID-19 report higher levels of confusion, an increase of over 25%.
- Pre-pandemic, many employees weren’t prepared to pay for an emergency. At that time, if faced with a large unexpected expense 35% indicated they would either go into debt (19%) or just didn’t know what they would do (16%). After the pandemic began, that number rose to 43%, with 25% indicating they didn’t know what they would do and 18% relying on debt to address the shortfall.
With the first stat, we are finding that employees may not know their benefits as well as they thought they did. We have to change the way employees consume their benefits. We are working on some key product initiatives that will not only help employees select the right benefits but then activate on those benefits and programs. As a major driver of medical spend, employees need better avenues to understand and use their benefits and technology is the answer!
Lastly, creating more space for voluntary benefits and consumer accounts. With COVID, there has been a large deferral of care and much of that spend will move to 2021 and beyond. Voluntary benefits and consumer accounts will be an important financial tool for employees preparing for those upcoming medical costs. We will continue to strategize and develop how our technology can better equip employees to use those benefits proactively, both through personalized communications and intelligent applications.
As a technology-driven company, we are excited for how we can solve for the challenges facing the workforce today and tomorrow. But for now, I wish you all a successful AE!