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The Role of Data in Making Your Benefits Decisions Easier

The Role of Data in Making Your Benefits Decisions Easier


A common goal among employers as they enter the new decade is to retain top talent, as well attract new, experienced talent. To do so, more focus on the idea of creating more personalized benefits offerings, the customization of plans giving employees better reasons to stick around or latch on to their company for needed support. The tricky part is finding a way to offer the best benefits within your packages, even if you offer more than one. Providing too many options, and you may find yourself overcomplicating the process, hurting your return on investment and confusing your employees.

So, how do you figure out what your employees need? While you can certainly go the route of surveying your employees, many have found greater success by simply looking at the numbers.

Why Should You Focus on Your Benefits Data?

Keeping employee communication efforts consistent is difficult, but adding that you actually want employees to listen, learn and engage with the message is extremely challenging. Employees are diverse, and therefore the dynamics on how different employees will be receptive to different messages and communication methods is just as diverse.

That’s why several employers have turned away from the simple and generic involvement assessments of their employees and their benefits and have put a prime focus on looking at the data. For example, which health conditions are likely to affect her workforce the most? Where can employees get top-level medical care at the best prices? Which workers are at risk for becoming seriously ill? How can you identify them as a person in need? How can you get them into early treatment? Looking at the data helps gives a straightforward answer, allowing for three gains of your benefits plan.

  • Targeted engagement maximizes compliance and ROI

According to a recent survey, more than 65% of employers confess they are not strategic when it comes to benefits cost management. Thomas Rubino, who has served in the employee benefits industry for over 20 years and as a Partner at ClearPath Benefits for the last 5 years, advises “employers to understand what’s driving their  medical and pharmacy spend on a monthly basis”. Having access to the data enables employers to allocate resources in a thoughtful and deliberate approach, which benefits the employee and the employer. The result is a maximization of your employees’ compliance and, therefore, a better return on investment on your benefits spending.

Bill Shimp, who has served in the insurance profession for 42 years and as a partner and principal of employee benefit consulting agencies for over 30 years, shared, “It is a win-win for the employer and employee. The employer reduces health care costs without reducing benefits and the employee improves their well-being and out-of-pocket medical costs.”

  • Analysis prevents waste and improves bottomline

When you go about a more targeted approach to your benefits, you’re also better off incorporating multiple benefits initiatives together and using a benefits administration platform. This allows you initiatives to become automated and focused, making long-term execution less of a hassle for your HR administration. In fact, a recent report showed that HR managers who don’t use automation lose an average of 14 hours; more than 28% waste 20 hours or more, and 11% spend 30 hours or more.

 “A good benefit administration platform allows an employer to offer a wide range of benefits and best in class benefit vendors without having to expand the HR staff just to administrate the optional plans,” said Shimp.

Rubino added, “Engaging a population health management vendor can be viewed as an added benefit for all stakeholders.”

  • Enables predictive analysis and building solutions for recurring needs

Predictive analytics, on the other hand, gives a probability for how a particular customer will behave in a future situation and how they might react to the different interactions between them and the business. Predictive analytics can help businesses discover patterns in data that can help expose problems and identify opportunities for growth. A great way to use predictive analysis is to identify employees who may leave and predict certain solutions that could retain them.

“Predictive modeling, when teamed with a good outreach system, is the single best pro-active step an employer can take to reduce high cost claimants while also helping the employee,” explained Shimp.

How Can You Make Better Benefits Decisions with Data?

Metrics You Should Focus On

If you decide investing in data analytics is a good move for your business and its employees, then you should begin to consider which metrics you actually want to measure.

Healthcare Plans

  • Top cost drivers. What employee health conditions or behaviors are the most expensive? The health plan provider and employer can implement voluntary programs for affected groups of employees, such as smoking-cessation programs.
  • Participation rates. How many employees use wellness programs? HR can communicate about the value of underutilized programs and consider implementing different ones.
  • Satisfaction. How do employees rate the health plan or wellness benefits? This analysis can lead to changes in plan design or even in the choice of a health plan vendor.

ClearPath Solutions

At ClearPath Benefits, we are focused on the big picture, helping employers manage their healthcare spend and helping employees improve their health. We don’t try to solve employer problems with our own solutions. We identify which resources are required, evaluate the effectiveness of health benefit and wellness programs, and then continue to monitor the impact of those programs. That’s why we now offer Vital Incite to our clients, a solution that delivers data-driven strategies designed to identify and improve medical spend waste. This allows employers to reinvest in the correct resources that will improve employee health. We put a prime focus on:

Identify – Identify health risk trends within an employee population

Understand – Understand how employees are accessing health care

Evaluate – Evaluate the effectiveness of health benefit and wellness programs

Accountable – Hold us and vendor partners accountable to improve health risks and costs

Turn your healthcare data into action, today, by visiting clearpathbenefits.com.

Featured in this Article:

Bill Shimp, Managing Partner and Consultant at ClearPath Benefits

bshimp@clearpathbenefits.com

614.754.1765

Bill Shimp has been serving clients in the insurance profession for 39 years and has been serving as a partner and principal of employee benefit consulting agencies for over 30 years. He currently is a partner in ClearPath Benefit Advisors which was formed in 2013 with a merger of the employee benefit department of his previous firm and the BP Waterhouse agency. Bill has served his profession as past President of the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters; past President of the Columbus Chapter of the American Society of CLU/ChFC; instructor of the American College employee benefit courses; industry speaker and serving on numerous industry advisory boards. He was recognized as the Ohio agent of the year for the Professional Insurance Agents and is member of the Columbus chapter of the American Society of CLU/ChFC’s hall-of-fame.

Thomas Rubino, Partner and Consultant at ClearPath Benefits

trubino@clearpathbenefits.com

614.754.1762

Thomas (Tom) Rubino has been in the Employee Benefits arena for nearly 20 years and has served as a Partner for ClearPath the past five years. He enjoys working directly with clients to provide innovative solutions to reduce their health care spend while providing the most aggressively negotiated plans for their associates. By using data analytics, population health improvement plans, and risk aggregation strategies Tom is changing the conversation with his clients with a three-year strategy. His sweet spot lies in employing a proactive process to service clients and directing the renewal process.

Sources:

Bates, Steve. “’Big Data’ Is Shaping Employers’ Benefits Strategies.” SHRM, SHRM, 16 Aug. 2019, www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0915-benefits-analytics.aspx.

Helman, Eric. “How Data Analytics Is Changing Employee Benefit Strategies.” Employee Benefit Adviser, Employee Benefit Adviser, 5 Sept. 2017, www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/closing-the-execution-continuum-on-employee-benefit-cost-savings.

Goldman, Todd. “Predictive Analytics and Employee Retention: A Winning Combination.” Transforming Data with Intelligence, www.tdwi.org/articles/2019/04/05/adv-all-predictive-analytics-and-employee-retention.aspx.

Goldman, Todd. “More Than Half of HR Managers Say Artificial Intelligence Will Become a Regular Part of HR in Next 5 Years – May 18, 2017.” Press Room | Career Builder, 2019, www.press.careerbuilder.com/2017-05-18-More-Than-Half-of-HR-Managers-Say-Artificial-Intelligence-Will-Become-a-Regular-Part-of-HR-in-Next-5-Years.Miller, Stephen. “An Open Enrollment ‘Look Back’ Captures What You’ve Learned.” SHRM, SHRM, 16 Jan. 2020, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/open-enrollment-assessments-capture-lessons.aspx