HR Dive: The 2016 benefits trends employers need to know

Shan Fowler, senior director of product strategy at Benefitfocus, noted three trends in particular with benefit technology.

  • Consumer experience and support tools. On the consumer side, these tools are helping drive costs down by helping consumers understand and pick the plans that would fit them best.  “There’s been a lot of focus on understanding the behavioral economics of how we choose things,” Marlo said. “You can’t just put 50 choices in front of employees and expect them to figure it out.”
  • Benefits analytics. Beyond the usual actuarial purposes, strong benefits analytics can shine a light on inefficiencies in plan design. The right tools can point out where an employer is both over and under-spending, based on what employees are actually using.
  • Tool flexibility, particularly the ability to address compliance issues. With compliance becoming more complex with the Affordable Care Act – including the new 1094/1095 tax forms – the latest and best benefits tech is starting to encompass all of it in a sort of “compliance-as-a-service” format. Even better: user experience has also improved, with some technologies similar in usability to TurboTax emerging on the field.

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