Health and wellness benefits in the United States are at an inflection point. And if you’re a health and wellness benefits provider, that puts you in a favorable position.
The reason? Converging factors have prompted many employers to reconsider their approach to benefits–not only to entice great employees but to help existing employees stay healthy and productive. Among them:
- Changing expectations around the types of benefits employers should provide
- “The Great Resignation” and the unique bargaining power it has afforded workers
- The prioritization of core health benefits, mental health benefits, and telehealth benefits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Meanwhile, employers also continue to face old problems like outdated benefits management systems, costly and time-consuming manual processes, and health benefit underutilization.
To gain traction and earn market share, emerging and established health benefits providers can use integrations with payroll and HR systems to create best-in-class health and wellness benefit experiences that help employers meet their complex needs and mitigate some of their most pressing issues.
A trend toward technology
A review of employers’ attitudes around benefits technology suggests that the time is ripe for integrations.
Studies show that employers are demonstrating an increased willingness to pay for digital initiatives. According to a recent survey, spending on HR and benefits technology grew 15% between 2017 and 2021, with 70% of employers reporting a renewed focus on benefits technology following the pandemic.
Reports also suggest employers are intrigued by the power of data and how it can help them optimize their HR functions. In fact, 76% indicated they would consider sharing basic employee information with insurance providers in order to create more personalized, tailored health benefits experiences for their workers.
Integrations for the win
With employers receptive to data’s potential and poised to pursue new benefit technologies, health benefits providers would be smart to use integrations to help address some of employers’ most pressing wants and needs.
Here are just some of the ways that integrations can serve your customers:
1. Automated enrollment and benefits management
Historically, processes like benefits enrollment and payroll deduction changes have been time- and labor-intensive for both employers and employees. With integrations, enrolling an employee in any benefit takes just a few clicks–no manual paperwork required!
Integrations also allow you to push information to payroll and HR systems, making tasks like payroll deduction changes practically friction-free. In short, manual tasks that once took days or weeks and a lot of effort can now happen in minutes.
2. Higher benefit utilization
Ask almost any employer and they will say achieving high utilization rates for key health benefits like health insurance, HSAs, FSAs, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) is a struggle. Studies suggesting that one in three workers would rather talk about their weight than their employee benefits and others that show average EAP utilization does not exceed 10% support their anecdotal claims. Workers not taking advantage of the benefits they’re entitled to might put them at increased risk for worse health outcomes and financial hardship. For employers, underutilization can mean higher premiums and tax bills.
Part of the problem seems to be that many legacy benefits systems were not designed with user experience in mind. If a system is difficult for HR teams and workers to navigate or unpleasant to engage with, utilization will suffer. Benefits education is another issue, with 68% of employers calling it “a challenge,” and 37% believing that employees don’t understand the value of benefits well enough to justify the cost.
Innovative benefits providers know that integrations are a key component of good product design. By making it simple and seamless to onboard new employers and manage workers’ benefits (i.e., no more CSV files), integrations contribute to an all-around better user experience, which can help employers realize improved utilization rates, healthier and happier employees, and cost savings.
Take HSAs as an example. Because integrations make it easy for HR teams to enroll an employee in an HSA and manage their HSA payroll deductions, more employees are likely to take advantage. In turn, employers can realize lower HDHP premiums and lower FICA taxes.
3. More insights and personalization
From their social media feeds, to their Netflix recommendations, to their subscription cosmetic boxes, Millennial and Gen Z consumers are accustomed to being catered to with highly personalized experiences, and they’re bringing those expectations with them to the labor force. In response, employers are looking for ways to offer more tailored health benefit experiences to their employees, and they are willing to trade data to get there.
Integrations allow that exchange of data to happen securely, seamlessly, continuously, and in real time, so innovative health benefits providers can build the next generation of custom benefits experiences. As a bonus, integrations can also provide benefits providers with granular visibility into how benefits are being used (or not) across customers and systems, making possible data-substantiated strategies for improving engagement and utilization.
4. Better benefits packages
Offering attractive benefits is a research-backed strategy for finding and retaining talent. At a time when there are nearly 11 million U.S. job vacancies and workers are quitting jobs in droves, employers are starting to evaluate the benefits they offer and look for ways to improve. In today’s climate, that means offering things like mental health assistance and telemedicine services but also focusing on the quality of core health benefits like insurance, HSAs, and FSAs.
This is especially critical in a country like the United States, where employer-sponsored health insurance is not a given. In fact, among businesses with 10 to 24 employees, only 52% offer health insurance. In the case of businesses with fewer than 10 employees, that number drops to 23%.
By automating countless health benefits tasks and processes, integrations free up time and help employers reduce administrative costs, making it possible for employers to offer more and better benefits to their workers. This is especially true for small businesses, who generally don’t have the bandwidth to manage traditional HR packages in house. Consequently, if a benefits provider makes it easy (with the help of integrations), offering health insurance can suddenly become feasible. And with 46% of workers saying health insurance strongly influenced their decision to accept a job, the ROI to employers is practically assured.
5. Employee retention
Integrations can also aid in worker retention. In fact, 56% of workers reported that the quality of their employer-sponsored health coverage is a key factor in their decision to stay at their job.
However, there might be something else at play as well. By automating tasks that were once the purview of internal benefits administrators, HR teams have more time to allocate to the human side of human resources–that is, helping individual employees not only understand and engage with their benefits but also develop professionally and grow in their careers. In turn, employees are more likely to feel seen and valued, and that can be reason enough for anyone to stay put.
The build vs. buy debate
In summary, integrations are essential to building industry-leading benefits products and services for your customers and their employees. But being responsible for your own integrations is a mammoth undertaking. The payroll and HR management systems industry is so fragmented (5,700+ providers - read our whitepaper here) that you would need to build and maintain dozens (if not hundreds) of integrations just to cover your total addressable market–not to mention, figure out how to properly scrub and standardize the data input and properly format it for consumption. Talk about a distraction from your core competencies.
The better solution is Finch, which provides integrations to major and boutique HR-management and payroll systems like QuickBooks, ADP Run, Workday, and Paylocity via one universal API. Finch unifies access to and smoothes over the differences among these systems to support many innovative use cases. And as we add new systems to our coverage network (which is always), you can turn them on in one click.
How Finch works
On the front end, Finch presents as a friendly, intuitive module that lets employers grant your application secure, instant, and regulation-compliant access to their payroll and HR systems. The process takes less than 30 seconds:
- Finch asks your user to link their payroll or HR system.
- Your user finds their system and enters their login credentials or API keys.
- The connection is established.
The connection allows your application to read information like census data, which streamlines onboarding and enrollment, as well as write information like contribution and deduction adjustments, which streamlines benefits management.
Basically, Finch makes innovation possible for health benefits providers that want to disrupt an industry that clearly stands ready for change.
But don’t just take our word for it
Learn how Finch is making it possible for Lane Health to offer first-of-their-kind, tax-advantaged loans to workers with HSAs–saving both Lane Health and its customers time and money in the process.
Want to know more about integrations for health benefits?
Click the black Request Access button in the upper-right of this webpage to submit a question or ask to see our API documentation.