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Digital Trends in Healthcare Benefits

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare companies have been forced to accelerate their digital transformation efforts out of necessity. We have seen more and more companies become comfortable with digital-first interactions and it seems that the old model of benefits administration is long gone. Even before COVID-19, digital was a goal for many companies. This stemmed from a commitment to improving the consumer experience as well as making healthcare and benefits more accessible and understandable. The pandemic has sped up the evolution.

For many companies, work-from-home arrangements remain in place, so there isn’t going to be a traditional enrollment process where you sit in a conference room, get your open enrollment packet, and fill out your form for HR. Digitizing group enrollment in no longer a desire, it is a need.

There’s also increased interest in optimizing access and experience for the end user, in part because of the ongoing war for talent and the urgency it’s creating for health benefits. Companies want to pivot to accommodate candidates by reading and quickly acting on trends. As a result, there’s been an explosion of digital approaches coming from companies. Mobile apps, e-signatures, text messaging, chatbots and interactive interviews are all innovative and relatively low-lift measures that can create a seamless end-to-end benefits enrollment experience that is personalized and relevant.

Most likely, much of this digital approach will remain post-pandemic, especially telemedicine. There are strategic advantages to keeping telehealth going including convenience and cost. This is why we’re seeing it expand into other areas like dermatology and behavioral health. The pandemic has forced us all to question how we’ve always done things and consider if there’s a more efficient or user-friendly approach. As an employee benefits consultant, I’ve been asked by my carrier partners more than ever about how they can improve on this front and move toward two-way communications and dialogue.

But not all companies are ready to take the digital dive. Late adopters tend to be smaller outfits or those in non-tech sectors like manufacturing that lack the time, budget, expertise, or labor to fully realize a digital strategy. But there is always a way to digitize, even with small, incremental steps. For those who still utilize a paper process, we generally see it evolve into a hybrid setup. In that approach, you’d still have a print or PDF booklet, but we can supplement that paper process with digital communications to ensure employees have the information they need to make an informed decision. From there, we might also create an enrollment portal to help make this process more seamless.

What is your company’s digital healthcare and benefits enrollment and communication strategy? The employers who embrace the new digital technologies and have strategies in place to communicate and enroll their benefits will be in the best position going forward. An experienced employee benefits consulting firm like the team at Univest Insurance can identify which strategies are best for your company and create a roadmap to implementing them successfully. To have a conversation to help you determine the best approach, please contact us at 610.966.1315 or insurance@univest.net.

 

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