How Decision Support Technology Can Fuel a Better Employee Experience

How Decision Support Technology Can Fuel a Better Employee Experience

Read our Decision Support Guide to learn about the top 5 factors to consider when evaluating recommendation engine platforms. Understand how predictive analytics can help employees understand future risks and costs, and what to look out for when comparing platforms to ensure you get the best fit for your needs.

The Changing Role of the Strategic Benefits Leader

The Changing Role of the Strategic Benefits Leader

Since the start of the pandemic, company benefits have played an increasingly important role in helping organizations protect the safety, wellness, and health of their employees. This is increasingly the case, not only for physical wellness, but organizations now have greater awareness of mental health and financial wellness impacts on their staff given recent challenges and mass resignations.

2022: a perfect storm for benefits

The dominance of remote/hybrid work environments also opens up new opportunities for benefits functions to offer new benefit types that could be seen as tangible expressions of a company’s culture. Therefore, If employee welfare, attraction, and retention are not top of the list of your key strategic priorities for 2022, they should be. Not only are organizations and HR functions adapting to new ways of working and changing business environments, they are also facing the fact that employees have started to “vote with their feet”, demanding a better work-life balance. We are experiencing the largest wave of mass resignations seen in most of our lifetimes. This is also not helped by the retirement of baby boomers and an aging workforce. 2022 is the year to act, and these challenges also offer a great opportunity for benefits teams to relook at the role they can play in strengthening the resilience of companies and their workforce.

Empyrean Announces EVOLVE/22 – April 6-8 in Nashville, TN

Empyrean Announces EVOLVE/22 – April 6-8 in Nashville, TN

Empyrean is excited to announce that this year’s EVOLVE conference will be held in beautiful Nashville, TN from April 6-8, 2022.

The theme for EVOLVE/22 is “Building Culture Through Benefits”, with an educational agenda focused on the strong connection between the role benefits can play in building company culture and the positive organizational outcomes gained from employee health and wellness.

Event participants will hear from HR industry leaders, benefit practitioners, and peers during our dynamic educational sessions, and there will also be plenty of networking windows and opportunities to explore the historic city of Nashville and its exciting music scene.

DATE: April 6-8, 2022
LOCATION: Nashville, TN

Event registration will open in the coming weeks, and the full event agenda and conference details will be released at that time as well. For now, we invite all of our clients to mark your calendars for this engaging event!

Empyrean Launches New Brand Messaging, Enhanced Corporate Website Focused on the Critical Role Benefits Play in Building Positive Workplace Cultures

Empyrean Launches New Brand Messaging, Enhanced Corporate Website Focused on the Critical Role Benefits Play in Building Positive Workplace Cultures

Houston, TX. [Oct. 11, 2021] Empyrean (, a leading benefits administration technology platform and service provider, announces the launch of its new website and brand messaging aligned with the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures by connecting their employees to life-enriching benefits.

Empyrean’s new brand message makes a strong connection between the role benefits play in building a company’s culture and positive organizational outcomes tied to total employee health and wellness. The brand strategy reflects Empyrean’s product roadmap, as the company continues to develop and roll out employee-centric technologies and services along with strategic carrier and service partnerships designed to improve employee experiences and strengthen employer brands.

“Our commitment to building culture through benefits challenges us to continue to think beyond simply managing the complexities around benefits administration,” said Empyrean’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Wolfe. “How we connect with our clients’ participants, the experience they have using our technology and interacting with our people, are all critical to supporting them as they get the most out of their benefits – both today and in the future.”

Jim Priebe, Empyrean’s Chief Strategy Officer, says that while the organization has always been positioned to support an employee’s ability to better understand, access, and utilize their benefits program, Empyrean is now fully embracing its role in helping employers to improve their employee experience.

“The pandemic has shifted the thinking of many employers, putting a renewed focus on employee experience and employee wellbeing,” Priebe states. “We recognize our ability to improve benefit engagement not only at enrollment, but also on a year-round basis, helping employers connect the dots between building a strong company culture and the important role benefits play in making that a reality. It was important for us to make sure our brand message reflects this.”

“Empyrean’s innovative platform and outstanding service delivery have always set us apart, and we are taking the steps to move the needle even further,” added Priebe. “Now more than ever, we continue see clients and the market coming to us to not only solve their core administration needs, but to also find a partner that can support their benefit strategies and improve employee engagement.”

The launch of Empyrean’s new website and brand positioning comes during a year of significant growth for the organization with the expansion of headcount across all divisions and within the executive leadership team. Much of this growth can be tied to Empyrean’s rapidly expanding client base and roll out of several new technologies and services, including new vaccination tracking features, enhanced ACA reporting capabilities, and the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

About Empyrean

Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3.6 million participants across the U.S. & Canada rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (

Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.

Do Your Employees Understand Your Benefit Programs and Offerings?

Do Your Employees Understand Your Benefit Programs and Offerings?

Six Ways to Better Educate Employees About Their Benefit Enrollment Options

Each year, HR and benefit teams put Herculean efforts into designing and building benefit plans that best support their employee populations. And it’s no wonder why – robust health and wellness benefit programs are linked to better employee and attraction outcomes and overall company performance.

Despite these efforts and best intentions to deliver a high-performing employee benefits program, many employees are still unaware of the benefit offerings available to them. According to a 2021 Voya consumer survey, 35% of survey participants reported that they did not fully understand any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period, with 54% of millennial employees falling into that category. Employees are thirsting for better benefits education, as 66% of survey respondents said that they want their employer to help them better understand and navigate their benefit enrollments.

Unfortunately, a lack of benefits education and awareness can have dire consequences to both the employee and employer. Employees may opt for more expensive plans because they do not understand how a less costly option may better suit their coverage needs, and they may avoid some supplemental benefit offerings due to a lack of awareness of how these programs work or that they event exist.

On the employer side, failure to properly educate employees (and their dependents) on benefit offerings and usage can be both financially burdensome and a major miss when it comes to employer branding and employee experience. Employers who neglect to take the steps necessary to inform employees about their benefits demonstrate both a lack of employee support and an uncaring company culture, no matter how generous an employee benefit plan design may be.

So, how can employers educate their employees about their benefits? Empyrean’s recent research report, “Top 5 Benefit Trends for 2021,” highlights the growing shift towards closing these employee education and communication gaps through the use of decision support tools and other methodologies.

Here are six critical steps employers should consider to better help employees understand and identify the benefit options that will most effectively meet their health, wellness, and overall coverage needs while making the most of their enrollments on a year-round basis.

1. Create a Benchmark to Measure and Address Gaps in Employee Benefits Knowledge

In order to fix a broken benefits education system and measure future success, employers must first take stock to understand current knowledge levels and where gaps have traditionally occurred. Conducting periodic benefit satisfaction surveys and employee focus groups can provide critical data and insights surrounding your employees’ benefits knowledge and needs. By asking targeted questions, you can better understand employee knowledge levels, common misconceptions, overall frustrations, and where more education is needed.

Another way to gauge levels of employee benefits knowledge is to carefully monitor and audit benefit enrollments and usage. If the majority of employees select certain benefits options, rejecting those which may be a better fit, it may be due to a lack of understanding rather than a specific preference for one option over another.

Creating these initial benchmarks can not only help fuel an organization’s go-forward benefits education and communications strategy, but will enable the employer to measure and report on the success of new initiatives.

2. Communicate Benefits Information Through Diverse Channels

Employees differ in the ways they prefer to learn about and synthesize information, and benefits are no exception. While some employees prefer digesting benefits materials and updates during in-person interactions, others respond better to a fully digital experience where they can access benefit resources on an on-demand basis.

To support the many different learning and communication styles within your workforce, it is critical to communicate benefits information using a variety of media. Employers should consider utilizing a combination of the following methods:

  • In-person or virtual benefit workshops and enrollment meetings
  • Detailed benefits handbooks and plan summaries
  • Online technologies, including decision support tools
  • Customized online benefits microsites
  • Dedicated space on the company intranet
  • Individualized telephone support provided by an internal team or outsourced third-party

3. Simplify Complex Benefits Concepts and Terminologies

It may be difficult for employees to understand, navigate, and best utilize their benefit offerings if they lack foundational knowledge about core benefits concepts and terms. A UnitedHealthcare consumer survey found that only 9 percent of respondents understood the meaning of four basic insurance terms—health plan premium, deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum. If employees struggle with common benefits terminology, they may also have a harder time grasping how some insurance and savings plans work.

By educating employees about key benefit concepts and terms, employers can improve overall benefits literacy and make it easier for employees to select right-sized coverage options that work best for them and for their dependents. You can support employees in this area by considering the development and rollout of the following resources:

  • A glossary of benefit terms and concepts using simplified definitions and easy to understand examples
  • Videos and other digital resources that cover benefit terminologies in simplistic terms
  • In-person or virtual benefits workshops and education sessions that occur throughout the year

4. Implement an Active Annual Enrollment

Outside of a qualifying life event, annual enrollment periods are the only time employees can re-evaluate and enroll in employer-sponsored benefit programs. Due to these enrollment timing limitations, many employers utilize a passive open enrollment strategy to ensure there is no loss in coverage for employees who may miss the enrollment window. However, employers may be missing critical opportunities by employing a passive approach.

“We see that our clients who have implemented an active open enrollment see better results as it relates to the selection of cost-effective, right-sized coverage as well as the engagement with and utilization of those plans,” says Desta Millner, Strategic Accounts Advisor at Empyrean.

Millner also points out that employers with an active annual enrollment gain an opportunity to re-demonstrate the competitiveness and value of their benefits offering.

“Empyrean believes that benefits are the most tangible expression of a company’s culture and truly demonstrate the value an organization places on its people. Employers with a passive annual enrollment miss out on the chance to further bolster their employer brand and create that goodwill that drives positive employee experiences and loyalty.”

5. Utilize Decision Support Tools to Provide Employees with Right-Sized Benefits Recommendations

Decision support technology helps employees navigate employer-sponsored health and wellness benefit offerings through an individualized lens, enabling better education, selection, and utilization outcomes.

“Decision support technology takes a holistic approach to open enrollment,” says Jim Priebe, Chief Strategy Officer at Empyrean. “It educates your employees to see the bigger picture of how their benefits work together to meet their needs, and treats them as the whole people they are – not just a sum of parts.”

These recommendation engines, specifically those which integrate real-life claims data, can drive benefits engagement as the employee is now guided through the enrollment process and can see which plans and programs are right for them based on their individual needs, health and wellness outlook, and overall circumstance. Through predictive analytics, employees can better conceptualize which programs will be most impactful for them and their family from a financial and coverage standpoint.

Decision support technology can also help employees better understand the overall worth of their benefit plan by providing a transparent view of their employer’s financial contributions to these programs.

6. Make Employee Benefits a Year-Round Conversation Beyond Just Annual Enrollment Periods

A Unum poll of U.S. workers found that most employees spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefits prior to open enrollment. For many, those 30 minutes may be the only time of the year they interact with their benefits choices in a meaningful way.

To drive benefit education and engagement, employee benefits communication should occur year-round and not only be limited to the open enrollment period. By offering employees helpful resources at all times of the year, employers can further optimize benefits decision-making and improve overall benefits outcomes. Producing newsletters, lunch-and-learns, and providing AI-enabled decision-support technology are just a few ways you can help employees learn more about their benefits options before, during, and after open enrollment.

Empower Employees to Choose Benefits Wisely

Oftentimes, employees simply don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to benefits. However, by putting more relevant information into employee hands and offering tools and resources to help them navigate their options, you can help your employees make more informed and cost-effective benefits decisions throughout the year.

To learn more about trends in decision support and other employee benefit areas, download your copy of “The Top Five Benefit Trends for 2021”.

Empyrean Announces Carrier Partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions

Empyrean Announces Carrier Partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic led to surge in new pet adoption and ownership across the U.S. According to a pulse survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), as of October 2020, more than 11 million American households had brought home a new pet since the start of the pandemic.

The benefits of pet ownership are evident. The same APPA study found that 75 percent of pet owners surveyed say that spending time with their pet helps them to manage stress levels while increasing their sense of well-being.

With more than 68 percent of U.S. households owning pets, the majority of which pay more than $2,000 annually in pet care, many employers have started offering supplemental products to assist employees with pet care costs.

Empyrean has announced that it has added Pet Benefit Solutions to its carrier network, enabling Empyrean clients to add this supplemental offering to their benefit programs while enabling employee enrollment through the Empyrean platform.

Comprehensive coverage under Pet Benefit Solution’s Total Pet Program includes veterinary care, pet product savings, and pet care services. There are several key advantages for employers looking to offer this benefit through Empyrean’s partnership with Pet Benefit Solutions, including:

  • Easy setup and administration within the Empyrean platform.
  • Simple and informative employee enrollment.
  • Flat rate costs for family pet plans without the need for individual quotes.
  • Simple billing processes with no reconciliation needed.
  • Coverage for all pets with no pre-existing condition exclusions, waiting periods, or deductibles.
  • High employee participation and engagement rates (up to 25%).

For more information about this new partnership, please contact us at

New Empyrean Research: 5 Benefits Trends to Watch in 2021

New Empyrean Research: 5 Benefits Trends to Watch in 2021

The pandemic has changed the workplace forever, creating seismic shifts in the way employees measure and interact with their benefit programs and offerings.

Employers have been forced to view benefits and their resulting employee impact through a new lens, requiring organizations to adopt new strategies and approaches to support their employees’ evolving physical, mental, and financial health needs. Benefits like remote work stipends, expanded mental health and financial wellness resources, and virtual decision support have become essential components of a comprehensive employee benefits program.

Empyrean’s latest research report, “The Top 5 Benefits Trends for 2021,” summarizes the results from our annual client survey and provides fresh insights to help your organization build a forward-thinking employee benefits strategy. We have outlined some of the key highlights below, but to view the full report, you can download your copy here.

1.   COVID-19 has made a clear and lasting impact on employee benefit expectations and offerings

Throughout the pandemic, employee benefits took center stage as one of the most critical and impactful ways to support what quickly became overtaxed and overstressed workforces. Results from our client survey reveal that once COVID-19 hit, employers quickly took action to provide enhanced benefits to support their employee populations. For many, this came in the form of special benefits enrollment periods or additional contributions to employee health savings accounts (HSAs).

As the pandemic continued, many employers have gone a step further, providing employees with additional resources and tools to support total wellness. Telehealth benefits have grown in popularity, and mental health counseling, doctor visits, and physical therapy conducted via video chat technology have become more commonplace, improving accessibility to providers and reducing the time needed to access this type of support.

As our report explains in further detail, virtual benefits are poised to become a more prominent fixture in plans moving forward, and employees are expected to continue to expect (and demand) these types of programs.

2.   Employers are leaning on voluntary benefits to support total employee wellness

While medical and retirement benefits provide a solid foundation for employees and their families, voluntary benefits address a broader range of physical, mental, and financial wellness needs.

Whether employees are looking for a better work-life balance, financial planning support, or new ways to cope with the stress of working from home, voluntary benefits can round out traditional benefit programs and support the whole employee. Some of the available voluntary benefits discussed in our report include:

  • Expanded mental health benefits, including employee assistance programs (EAPs)
  • Personalized tools to support financial planning and savings
  • Workplace programs designed to offer greater flexibility

Supplemental benefits can help ensure that the holistic needs of diverse employee populations can be met.

3.    Integrated benefits technology and predictive analytics will be relied upon to efficiently manage rising benefit costs

One of the perennial employee benefit challenges faced by HR, total rewards, and benefit leaders is balancing rising costs with the need to offer comprehensive and competitive benefits to not only support employees, but to attract and retain talent. By taking advantage of new advancements in benefits management technology and predictive analytics, employers can better understand benefit costs and anticipate future expenditures with greater accuracy.

As described in our report, benefits technology delivers dynamic reporting to support the budgeting process, as well as analytics to track key benefit metrics for your organization. As a result, you can take a more proactive approach to benefits spending, selection, and overall decision-making.

4.   Decision support tools will be more frequently used to educate, advise, and engage employees

In a 2021 Voya consumer survey, one-third of respondents reported that they did not fully understand any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period. Despite materials and support available during open enrollment and throughout the year, many employees lack a full understanding of their benefit coverage and how to make cost-effective selections that are sized appropriately for their unique needs.

In an effort to better educate employees about their benefit options, benefits decision support technology has grown in popularity. As explained in our report, decision support utilizes AI and data analysis to generate recommendations tailored to each unique employee, enabling employees to better select (and then utilize) right-sized coverage for both themselves and their families.

5.   Increased employer focus on continued benefits regulatory compliance developments

The past year has seen no shortage of new regulations affecting employer benefit programs and offerings. And while Empyrean’s experts say that compliance shifts are nothing new, the sheer number and complexity of new compliance changes and regulatory rollouts have employers paying attention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major driver of new legislation in the employee benefits space, as most recently seen with the American Rescue Plan Act and the 100 percent paid COBRA subsidy provision.

The continued pandemic and the anticipated actions of a new White House administration are expected to result in more legislative change. As highlighted in our report, employers anticipate the need to lean on benefit administration partners to navigate the evolving regulatory compliance landscape of 2021 and beyond.

What else is in store for 2021?

This year’s research report highlights the indelible mark the pandemic has had on employee benefit offerings and go-forward strategies. With a stronger understanding of this year’s benefit trends, your organization can stay informed about the many options available to assist you in meeting your employees’ evolving needs and expectations.

For additional data and insights tied to this year’s benefit trends, download your copy of the 2021 Benefit Trends Report today.

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19,  Part 2

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19, Part 2

This upcoming Annual Enrollment may be unique, but the right planning, partners, and proactive solutions will allow you to bring greater peace of mind to your employees – even during these uncertain times.

Read Part 1 of this post here.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a workforce that is more scattered than ever before. This dynamic shift in the workplace has made leveraging the right technology a must for almost everything – from conference calls to online benefits enrollment.

As a benefits leader, it’s up to you to ensure that your employees have the tools and guidance they need to make smart decisions about their health, wealth, and benefits coverage, no matter where or how your employees may be working today.

Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide will help you navigate the AE planning process, so you can execute an open enrollment season that will reach your workforce – even during these difficult times. Download your free copy of the guide today!

The following tips will help you build a benefits communication strategy that resonates with your employees:

Acknowledge the situation around COVID-19
Between managing work responsibilities and family life, employees’ time and focus are at an all-time premium. Under normal circumstances, 56% of employees spend less than half an hour shopping for their benefits, and 14% do no research at all.1 Now, your employees may be tempted to spend even less time comparing plans – or worse, may simply select the same plans as last year. Be sure to acknowledge the difficulties presented by the pandemic in your OE communications, and encourage employees to leverage this enrollment to re-evaluate their needs, familiarize themselves with their all of their benefit options, and bring greater peace of mind to them and their families as the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop.

Transform in-office events into virtual experiences
With so many employees working from home, HR teams have to re-think the usual AE office mainstays, such as posters and benefit fairs. Regular reminders, educational materials, and events are all key to driving employee engagement – but now these options must be re-tooled to fit today’s remote workforce. Brainstorm ways to bring similar experiences directly to your employees through channels such as email, intranet and other online reminders, interactive webinars, and videos. Even if being held virtually, these events can still drive greater comprehension and value to your benefits package.

READ MORE: Explore ideas to help reach your employees while demonstrating care and compassion during these difficult times.

 Maintain a two-way dialogue with employees
When working remotely, it’s easy to rely on “one-way” modes of communication (such as email). After all, employees can no longer simply pop into your office or stop you in the hallway to ask a quick question. However, relying on just one form of communication can lead to a backlog of questions in your inbox and leave participants feeling isolated and overlooked when they don’t receive a timely enough response. Instead, encourage employees to start a dialogue via phone calls or online chat conversations (such as Skype). This will help keep lines of communication open, allow employees to get their questions answered faster, and re-emphasize the human element of HR – even at a distance. Better yet, leverage an client-dedicated Service Center to provide live, one-on-one assistance to employees without adding additional burden to your workload.

Help your employees help themselves
Selecting the wrong benefits coverage can lead to increased financial risks, more stress, and greater dissatisfaction for employees. The stakes of your benefits strategy may be higher than ever – but making the enrollment process as quick, easy, and effective as possible will lead to happier employees and more positive outcomes for your overall business. Emphasize employees’ self-service solutions from the very start of your AE communications. Your benefits administration technology platform should offer convenient mobile solutions for benefits selection, enrollment, and utilization that provide employees with the exact tools they need, right when they need them. With the right support at their fingertips, employees can make smarter decisions and save time and money in the process.

RELATED: Gain critical insights into the trends shaping employee benefits and discover how COVID-19 will impact employers’ strategies moving forward.

With the right planning and proactive solutions, you can help your employees experience greater peace of mind – even during these uncertain times. For more tips and ideas, download Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, “2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19.”

While this upcoming open enrollment period may present new challenges, your benefits administration technology partner should more reliable than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about the way we work, but it does not have to derail your employee benefits strategy or compromise the service quality of your partnerships.

Download your free guide today and discover how the proper steps – supported by the right partner – can make all the difference to your benefits program and overall success.


  1. Aflac Workforces Report: 2019-2020 Workplace Benefits Trends.” Aflac, Inc. Columbus, GA. November 2019.
2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19,  Part 1

2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19, Part 1

Annual Enrollment is the central moment that defines the success of your benefits strategy, and this year the stakes are higher than ever. Discover how your HR team can cut through the noise to deliver positive results for your employees and business.

More employees are working from home than ever before, parents are juggling conference calls while their kids attend virtual classes, and companies are navigating the pandemic as the situation evolves every day. Meanwhile, benefit teams are tasked with getting through all of the noise and distractions to keep their employees engaged, satisfied, and productive.

Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide will help you orient your AE planning, so you can execute an enrollment season that will reach and resonate with your workforce during these unique times. Download your free copy of the guide today!

The coronavirus crisis has underscored the importance of selecting the right coverage choices in protecting participants’ health, financial wellbeing, and overall peace of mind. In addition to the benefits package their employer offers, employees also need proper support to choose and utilize the right plans for their needs.

The way we work has been fundamentally and forever altered by the coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward, it is largely expected that many employees will continue to work remotely – even after the threat of the virus has passed. As you plan for this year’s virtual enrollment, consider improvements and new approaches to implement that will serve you in tomorrow’s remote-work environment – including your technology platforms.

Take time to consider the many ways COVID-19 has impacted your workforce, so you can adjust your enrollment strategy as necessary. Think of this year as an opportunity to optimize your open enrollment period and test new avenues to engage employees.

Here are a few steps to consider:

Plan and prep early
Everyone is working under new conditions – including you and your team. Give yourself extra time to prepare for this year’s AE and adjust to the challenges of fully virtual collaboration and communication. Create clearly defined roles and set a calendar of milestones for your team that includes post-AE follow up. Dedicate an extra week (or more, if possible) to ensure you have everything in order for a smooth enrollment season.

Keep employees focused
Like you, your workforce is adjusting to major shifts brought on by the pandemic. Employees across all populations are facing more distractions to enrollment than ever before. Consider reaching out to employees earlier – and more often – than in previous years. Begin reaching out to employees at least 60 days before your enrollment window opens. Regardless of whether you’re holding an active or passive enrollment, all employees should be encouraged to review their benefits to make sure they have the right coverage – especially as the situation around COVID-19 remains unpredictable. Early and continuous communication will help keep your enrollment metrics on track.

Review your AE goals
The emergence of the coronavirus has forced many businesses to rethink their priorities and goals this year. How has the pandemic impacted the structure of your company or workforce? How might you need to adjust your benefits strategy or enrollment expectations to accommodate these recent changes? Spend time thinking through recent changes and potential adjustments with your team to develop a clear understanding of where your strategy stands today.

RELATED: Explore how COVID-19 will shape the future of work in a post-pandemic world.

As you plan, remember to also review the following topics:

Eligibility rules and gatekeeping processes
How have your employee populations and eligibility rules changed since last year? To avoid data issues from ineligible elections, you’ll want to make sure your employees and dependent eligibility rules are precisely aligned with your organization’s needs and requirements. Take care especially when managing multiple complex populations with unique attributes (such as union employees, furloughed employees, grandfathered populations, and retirees).

Regulatory compliance requirements
Address any compliance concerns early on in your AE planning, to allow your team and vendors time to review and resolve any issues as needed. Also ensure your solution is properly aligned with the latest updates from the IRS, including those related to COVID-19 relief efforts. Your benefits administration partner should offer dedicated in-house expertise to help keep your business in consistent compliance and protected from potential penalties.

Additional benefits and resources
Annual Enrollment is the time of year when your employees are most focused on their benefits. In addition to ensuring they select the right coverage, AE is also a crucial time to remind employees about all of the benefits, tools, and resources available to them. Telehealth services, wellness programs, financial wellness resources, and your employee assistance program (EAP) can be especially helpful options for employees during this particularly stressful time. Take advantage of the spotlight AE brings to your benefits to drive greater value and encourage employees to leverage their entire benefits package.

READ MORE: Discover how employers are adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 without getting overwhelmed.

After reviewing key topics with your team, regroup with your benefits administration technology partner to discuss your objectives for AE. Your service team should be able to provide you with year-over-year insights into your company’s goals, best practices to support your benefits strategy, and ideas to address any specific concerns you have related to COVID-19 or your overall plans.

As you collaborate with your vendors, take time to evaluate the solutions, service, and support they provide to your team and your participants. And for more tips and ideas, download Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, “2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19.”

While many things have changed, you don’t have to leave the success of your benefits program to chance. Optimizing your Open Enrollment approach today will help prepare you and your employees for tomorrow’s virtual world.

2020 Benefit Trends Report: Stay Prepared for the Unexpected

2020 Benefit Trends Report: Stay Prepared for the Unexpected

This year’s Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean offers key insights into the structure of employee benefit programs moving into the coronavirus pandemic, as well as indications of how benefits may evolve in a post-COVID-19 world.

Today, Human Resource professionals are facing the most challenging moments of their careers, juggling the unique impacts of the pandemic on their employees, businesses, and families. Like nearly every aspect of daily life in 2020, the business of employee benefits has been monumentally impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Health and wealth benefits are critical factors in determining an employees’ overall wellbeing, and especially so during this unprecedented period.

There is no doubt that the emergence of COVID-19 will have a profound and lasting impact on the care and coverage of employees moving forward. One key theme that has resonated throughout all of this change has been the need to prepare for the unexpected.

While the data highlighted in this year’s Benefit Trends Report was collected prior to the global emergence of COVID-19, the insights offered in this new report offer an important look at employers’ benefit programs prior to the pandemic – as well as critical insights into how COVID-19 will impact benefits moving forward.

Below is a preview of just a few of this year’s findings. For more, click here to download your copy of the 2020 Benefit Trends Report from Empyrean. 

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) remain the most popular medical plans: 95% of employers surveyed offer at least one of these two types of plans, and 64% of employers offer both an HDHP and PPO. This year’s data has signaled that the popularity of these plans has stabilized among employers.
  • Of the 76% of employers that offer HDHPs, only 8% of employers utilize a full-replacement (HDHP-only) strategy, a figure that has remained the same over the past year. While some employers have made the move to HDHP-only benefits packages, most organizations have appeared hesitant to make a similar strategic leap.
  • The manufacturing industry remains a leading adopter of the full-replacement strategy. This year’s data also highlights the popularity of HDHP-only offerings among companies in the energy/utilities sector.

RELATED: Explore the challenges facing HSA utilization and how technology can help alleviate these burdens and position you for long-term success

Analysis: Is Full-Replacement the Benefits Strategy of the Future?

While 76% of employers currently offer an HDHP as part of their health benefits packages, only 8% of those employers utilize a full-replacement strategy – where HDHPs are the only health plan option offered to employees.

Full replacement strategies are especially common among employers in industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic – including the manufacturing/industrial and services industries. Given the financial impacts seen across nearly all industries, however, full-replacement strategies may become even more prevalent as employers try to balance employees’ health insurance needs with managing lost business.

As a result of the unique situation surrounding COVID-19, many employers and plan providers have opened up special enrollment periods to those employees that waived health care coverage during their prior Annual Enrollment.

Some employers have offered limited plan choices during these special enrollment periods, including employers that have only offered HDHP plans to participants. This may be a possible indicator for increased interest in the full-replacement strategy among employers in the future.

Prior to the pandemic, low unemployment and high competition over top talent made enacting a full-replacement strategy a potentially controversial move – especially among employees who were accustomed to more traditional plan choices like preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Now employers may be more focused on keeping their businesses afloat. As a result, cost-sharing plans and full-replacement strategies could see more momentum as the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to surface.

  • Nearly two-fifths of organizations now have decision support tools available to their employees.
  • The recommendation engine has increased in availability by 38% since last year, and is now utilized at 89% of eligible employers surveyed – making this the most popular decision support tool today.

READ MORE: Learn how properly applying the latest advancements in smart technology can boost your benefits strategy, engage employees, and reduce costs for all

  • More than three-fourths of employers offer voluntary benefits, including accident and critical illness coverage, legal insurance, and pet insurance.
  • Wellness programs are increasing in popularity: Half of all employers surveyed now offering a wellness program as part of their benefits packages. Nearly three-fourths of these employers include biometric screenings and other health assessments as part of their wellness program strategy. 81% offer an associated incentive to encourage continued wellness program participation, such as financial rewards or reduced medical premiums.

MORE: Discover the financial challenges facing today’s workforce and discover practical solutions that will help you care for employees’ wallets and wellbeing

This year’s report highlights that commitment, dedication, and flexibility are more important now than ever. Ensuring employees have access to the right benefits, guidance, and services is crucial to keeping families safe throughout the current crisis.

Likewise, employers must be able to rely on their benefit administration partners and technology providers to tackle a growing number of process changes, compliance updates, and other evolving needs.

For more data and insights, download your copy of the 2020 Empyrean Benefit Trends Report today. As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and comments. Feel free to contact us anytime at

Key Ingredients for a Successful Benefits Administration Technology Partner

Key Ingredients for a Successful Benefits Administration Technology Partner

Avoid common compromises – and reduce your risk of poor choice and project failure – by understanding what sets successful benefits administration solutions apart.

Employers offer benefits to stay competitive in a tight talent market and maintain happy employees. However, your employee benefits experience is not dictated solely by the health insurance, retirement benefits, life insurance, disability insurance, or fringe benefits you offer. Your benefits technology platform can make a huge difference in the way employees feel about your offering, as well as how productive your benefits team can be over outdated manual processes.

The benefits of employee engagement and smarter productivity can’t be overstated. As an HR leader, however, you put a lot on the line when selecting the technology provider you’ll entrust with your benefits enrollment, administration, and engagement. The right benefits solution will help you gain higher productivity and increase relevance, improve cost predictability, and mitigate risk through accurate compliance and coverage – but how can you identify the best partner?

Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide covers 10 benefits administration must-haves to help you select a strong benefits administration partner with confidence.  Here we take a quick look at a few of these key “ingredients.” For more,  download the free guide today.

High Client Retention

A lot of time and investment goes into finding the right technology partner – but improperly vetted solutions are bound to fail, even after go-live. Ask for your potential partner’s client retention rate. This indicative figure will show if clients are satisfied and sticking with their solution.

To help find a viable partner to meet your current needs, look for a benefits technology firm that fully delves into and understands your company’s many unique factors, such as industry and culture. Your potential vendor should have proven and positive past experiences with clients of similar size and complexity to your own.

Adaptive and Scalable Solutions

Whether currently insourcing or outsourcing, you likely have existing processes based on your benefits strategy. The technology powering your benefits administration platform should adapt to and enable your strategy – you shouldn’t have to compromise your strategy to fit a vendor’s shortcomings. To increase data accuracy and efficiency, your partner should tailor to your unique formats, culture, employee groups, and strategy, while applying best practices where appropriate.

Your business is ever-changing, and benefits are a large part of that dynamic. Select a proactive benefits administration solution that can keep up with predictable and unpredictable changes in your company, market, and applicable regulations – otherwise you could face unexpected issues down the line. Your partner should have a history of maintaining smooth service throughout clients’ major organizational and strategic changes, to prevent the need for a new vendor search soon after your next big business announcement.

Strong Year-Round Benefits Engagement and Employee Experience

Your benefits technology investment shouldn’t be limited to a single experience during Annual Enrollment, or you could face the risks of disengaged employees. Instead, expect your platform to put artificial intelligence (AI) to work for your employees, saving real dollars and time with better benefits package recommendations, convenient health care providers, cost comparisons and options for prescriptions and treatments, and streamlined processes when filing paperwork and making a claim. Year-round support will make sure employees are engaged and leveraging the benefits you offer to the best of their ability.

Proactive benefits administration technology delivers value that goes beyond basic enrollment and administration – to reach employees at the right point of need. How robust and relevant is your current benefits solution? You need an experience that makes benefits matter to your employees every day – not just once or twice a year.

Data You Can Trust

One of the most common reasons companies seek out a new benefits technology provider is because their current system produces bad data. The problem is then compounded when their vendor fails to properly clean and continually audit their data. When evaluating a solution, look beyond just an attractive and functional user experience, and dive deep into your potential partners’ data handling capabilities. Can the firm manage your data and provide the expertise to understand the whys behind your data and reporting?

Airtight Security Procedures

Managing employee benefits also means handling and protecting your employees’ most sensitive information. Millions of people have already fallen victim to security breaches, as cyber criminals use increasingly sophisticated methods to infiltrate information systems. Security must be more than a “check-the-box” priority for your benefits administration partner.

Your chosen technology provider should employ robust security protocols such as at-rest data encryption, annual security audits, thorough employee background checks, HIPAA training and certification for all employees, and restricted and monitored data access.

Each company’s benefits, workforce, and strategy are different, but selecting your next benefits technology vendor doesn’t have to be risky or nerve-wracking. With support from the right partner you’ll eliminate compromises, lower costs, and enrich lives to increase employee satisfaction and make benefits matter every day.

For the complete checklist of all 10 must-have ingredients – and to see how your benefits technology stacks up – download Empyrean’s newest At-A-Glance Guide.  As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at

3 Essentials for Best-in-Class Benefits Administration

3 Essentials for Best-in-Class Benefits Administration

Few employers can afford the financial and compliance risks of a subpar benefits administration technology provider, but many may not realize when their vendor causes them to compromise. These three essentials will help you avoid unnecessary compromises and find the best partner for your business.

Bringing true value to your organization requires relevant experience, insightful thinking, and the right tools and technology to keep pace with evolving demands.  Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide takes a close look at the three essential aspects of a best-in-class benefits administration partner,  to help you identify the solution that will elevate HR’s impact and make your employee benefits matter every day. Read on for a quick primer on these three essentials.

Essential #1 | Trusted Data Management

Data management processes are the foundation of your technology, and are critical in determining your benefits administration success. Without correct and accurate data, your benefits solution will become unreliable and prone to failure—regardless of how well-designed the front-end experience may seem.

Your technology platform should “just work,” properly handling your intricate data and continually checking for accuracy and logic conflicts to keep errors at bay. However, since data management takes place entirely on the back-end of your system, it can be tough to identify and initially understand good management processes from bad.

Deficient data management processes can cause eligibility rules and gatekeeping measures to fail, which can lead to long-term enrollment and coverage headaches that take an enormous effort to unravel and properly resolve. Plus, benefit errors can erode employees’ confidence, and damage your credibility with executives and other stakeholders that rely on accurate reporting.

Given how prominent benefits are to your organization’s success, your benefits administration outsourcing partner must be able to properly manage your data at all times. Each platform manages data differently, but these differences may not be immediately apparent. How a potential system will manage and maintain your data will be a (if not the) key component of your entire solution’s success.

A worthwhile technology partner will dedicate investments and resources to tackle your toughest benefit challenges, solve your current needs, and flex to fit your future strategies.

Essential #2 | Solution Scalability

To remain viable over time, your benefits administration technology must scale with your business as it shifts and evolves. Your business is not static, and your solution must keep up with both small and large changes to your company’s size, population complexity, organizational structure, and industry changes.

Technology solutions must be purpose-built for scalability, or programming limitations can cause your platform to crash or cause errors. Developing a scalable solution relies on a complete understanding of benefits complexity, the rapid pace of potential changes, and the back-end workings of the system itself.

For example, large legacy providers often offer a wide variety of technology services in addition to benefits administration — such as payroll or human resources information systems (HRIS). At first glance, it can seem like a smart move to place multiple HR needs under one vendor, especially if “bundling” these services offers an initially lower price point.

However, many large providers’ product portfolios often grow due to acquisitions, instead of in-house development. The result is a variety of solutions and data storage processes stitched across highly compartmentalized systems that happen to be listed under the same company name.

From a programming perspective, these systems are highly inflexible, unstable, and often comprised of less-than-optimally secure technology. Even small changes (such as data configurations, tax rules amendments, or state and federal compliance updates) can demand time-consuming and expensive manual labor to resolve, or significantly impact the operational capacity of these systems, causing the entire solution to fail.

Scalability (or the lack thereof) is ingrained in your solution’s architecture—and without the right attention to this trait, your team could suffer down the line.

Essential #3 | Insight-Driven User Experience

Your solution’s user interface should be intuitively designed – however, it’s important to keep in mind that a high-gloss interface design does not necessarily denote the most reliable back-end processes or supportive capabilities.

For example, no matter how inviting a retail store may be, your overall experience will be soured if the product you purchase does not work when you get home. Similarly, no matter how well-designed your platform’s user interface may seem, it will prove worthless if its data is inaccurate, your solution proves unstable, and your employee is not covered adequately (or at all) by their benefits selection.

When evaluating a potential partner’s user experience, look for the following:

  • An easily tailored portal experience that can be designed around each of your unique employee populations.
  • The ability to add targeted communications, educational content, provider links, and coverage documents within the employee experience.
  • Fully integrated decision-support that guides employees during their open enrollment period as well as throughout the plan year, with no need to switch between multiple sites or portals.
  • Convenient access from nearly any internet-connected device, including a mobile application experience that offers push notifications and alerts.

Your technology solution should be intuitive for both employees and administrators to use, and smartly designed to allow employees across all generations to take greater control of their benefit choices.

A best-in-class benefits platform will bring solutions that go beyond benefits enrollment and administration, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze your benefits data and deliver employee-specific recommendations.

A best-in-class benefits administration partner will give your team the efficiency they need to gain back valuable time throughout their day, as well as heighten employees’ benefit experiences to improve outcomes. Download Empyrean’s newest At-A-Glance Guide to learn more on how to identify and evaluate these three essentials within your current vendor or potential partner. 

With the right solution, you’ll have more opportunities to focus on what really matters to you, your employees, and the bottom line of your business.

As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at

Benefits Administration Outsourcing: How to Find the Right Path for Your Business

Benefits Administration Outsourcing: How to Find the Right Path for Your Business

Is benefits administration outsourcing right for you? Whether you are considering outsourcing for the first time, or are a seasoned outsourcer searching for a better-fitting solution, make sure you know what points to consider before making your next move.

As health care and employee benefit programs become increasingly more complex, time consuming, and subject to regulatory compliance requirements, employers must accurately assess their team’s capacity when managing this important aspect of their success.  Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide takes you through common considerations and best practices to find the right path for your business and help you make benefits matter every day.   Download the guide now and discover what outsourcing can mean for HR, your strategy, and your workforce.

Here’s a quick primer of the three approaches companies apply to their benefits administration , and a just a few reasons why more organizations are choosing to partner with a best-in-class outsourcing provider to meet their needs.


Often, Human Resource teams insource their benefits administration because they do not feel comfortable relying on a third-party to manage and automate such crucial functions. This discomfort is understandable: Employee benefits – especially health benefits – remain high-visibility stakes all year round, and any errors in your benefits data and execution can spell disaster for employees and quickly diminish confidence in your HR team.

Given this perspective, it’s no surprise that currently insourced organizations include those that have never-before outsourced their benefits administration, as well as those that suffered with a previous outsourcing experience due to a subpar solution or ill-fitting technology platform and vendor.

However, insourcing presents its own costs, risks, and inefficiencies that may not be immediately apparent – while the right outsourcing partner will minimize risks, eliminate inefficiencies, enhance the employee experience, and provide solutions that drive high returns on your investment.

In fact, one report found that HR teams spend 25% less and utilize 30% less labor than their peers when aided by the right processes and technology.1


Co-sourcing is a collaborative approach to benefits administration, where select processes remain in-house (most commonly, call center services), while the remaining responsibilities are outsourced to a trusted provider.

This approach enables organizations to minimize the impact of burdensome administrative tasks – such as enrollment and regulatory compliance  – while maintaining control over more employee-facing services. Co-sourced clients may have reservations about how outsourcing might affect employees’ perceptions of their company culture and their HR department’s effectiveness.

While protecting your company culture is a valid concern, you should know that outsourcing does not have to mean relinquishing control of your culture or lowering your service standards. In fact, a proven outsourcing partner will actually enrich the way employees view their benefits and your company’s commitment to their wellbeing.

While you may have the resources to manage certain aspects of your benefits administration in-house, ask yourself if those resources would be put to more meaningful use if directed towards other priorities? Don’t let common misconceptions about outsourcing limit the impact you can have on your workforce and business.


As health care and employee benefits continue to become more complex, and employee expectations of benefits value and diversity continues to rise; as such, more businesses are choosing to fully outsource their benefits administration. In fact, 80% of today’s employers utilize outsourcing to manage at least one benefits-related task, and 38% consider outsourcing to be a critical part of their benefits strategy (a 41% increase since 2014).2

Full-service outsourcing lets HR leaders tackle the minutiae of benefits administration and enrollment, and take control of their strategy, without worrying that something has been left behind.

Today the movement towards benefits administration outsourcing remains prevalent, with 40% of employers now utilizing HR technology to manage their benefits administration. 78% of employers use third-party benefits administration technology, and over half of those employers choose to fully outsource their administration.2

The right partner will provide more than a benefits administration system: You’ll also gain the expertise of a knowledgeable and dedicated team, which can provide invaluable insights and best practice recommendations that measurably improve outcomes and drive greater ROI. In some cases, an outsourcing service team will gain the most complete understanding of their client’s benefit offering (even when compared to the client’s own HR team).

HR and benefits executives across every company size and industry are realizing the advantages that outsourcing brings to their businesses. Leveraging a modern benefits administration vendor can provide the technology and expertise to help you eliminate compromises, mitigate risks, and stay prepared for future changes.

So, how can you decide if outsourcing your benefits administration is right for your organization?

A good place to start is by asking your internal staff and business partners the following questions:

  • Do we have the appropriate resources and infrastructure to handle all aspects of our benefits administration in-house?
  • Do we have the financial support to develop and maintain the skill sets and technology needed to most effectively manage our benefits administration?
  • Do we have the in-house expertise to understand and keep up with complex regulatory compliance requirements?
  • Can we continue to support the strategic initiatives necessary for our company’s growth while also internally managing all of our daily administrative functions?
  • Are we providing the personalized support employees need to make smarter benefit choices, efficiently utilize their benefits, and live healthier, happier lives?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now may be a smart time to discuss how a best-in-class benefits administration outsourcing partner can positively impact your company.

Whether outsourcing your benefits administration for the first time or making the move to a new vendor, the ultimate goal is to make the most of your investment and ensure long-term success. When you consider the benefits, outsourcing can be a cost-effective solution that greatly increase your team’s productivity, increase employee engagement and retention, and lower costly errors and risks. However, the benefits administration partner you choose must be capable of tailoring to your unique strategy and goals, and adapt and scale to changes within your organization and industry over time.

Download Empyrean’s latest guide to learn more, and discover if outsourcing is the right solution to tackle your company’s complex challenges.

As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at


  1. “Raising the World-Class Bar in HR Through Digital Transformation.” The Hackett Group, Inc. Miami, Florida. June 2017.
  2. “Game Changer: The Digitalization of Employee Benefits Delivery.” The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. New York, New York. May 2018.
3 Strategies to Prepare for Annual Enrollment

3 Strategies to Prepare for Annual Enrollment

Annual enrollment (AE) might be your busiest time of the year, but it doesn’t have to mean long nights and looming headaches. With the right planning and support, this AE can be your easiest and most effective yet.

Leverage Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation to Achieve Better Benefit Outcomes

Leverage Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation to Achieve Better Benefit Outcomes

Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are changing the way many organizations do business – but what does this mean for HR’s undeniably human-centric work?

Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, Analytics and AI in HR, explores how businesses can leverage AI, machine learning, and data analysis to achieve better benefit outcomes. Download this free guide and learn how properly applying the latest advancements in smart technology can boost your strategy, guide and engage employees year-round, and help save your employees and your company substantial health care costs every year.

Before you can take advantage of the latest technology, however, it helps to understand the basics. Here’s a quick primer.


Automated technology is programmed to complete routine, predictable, and often physical tasks – think factory robots on an assembly line. Automation increases efficiency and helps eliminate human error that can occur as a result of manual processes.

In its most basic form, HR software and benefits administration technology is an example of automation at work. Rules-based gatekeeping , scheduled file transfers, and employee benefits enrollment are all automated processes that (ideally) make life easier and eliminate potential errors for benefit teams and employees.

Just because a technology is automated, however, does not mean that the technology is smart.

On its own, basic automated technology lacks the ability to understand concepts, recognize problems, or identify patterns that may arise over the course of its use. For technology to be smart, it needs artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) programming empowers technology to identify concepts, recognize patterns, and analyze complex rules to quickly develop and offer solutions for a multitude of challenges. The goal of AI is to create smarter technology that can “think” and solve problems like a human, but with the computing capabilities and speed of modern machines. Machine learning is a component of AI, enabling AI-equipped technology to better analyze and learn from data.

So how do these concepts apply to – and improve – your business intelligence and the execution of your benefits strategy? When it comes to benefits, what is the most valuable application for this new generation of technology?


Data, AI, and machine learning algorithms can come together to positively influence the employee experience and streamline your workload. While analytics may have been previously viewed as something mainly utilized for operations and finance departments, the reality is that analyzing data is now a critical aspect of today’s successful benefit programs and administration.

Employees are often overwhelmed by benefit complexity, and want an easy answer to the question, “What’s the best plan or path to care for me?… But of course, the answer to this question is highly personal and dependent on each employee’s unique circumstances. By analyzing employees’ very own data and behavior, the answer to this question is more accessible and more accurate than ever.

Modern and more robust decision support uses claims data, consumer data, and health indicator data sets to provide a clear and objective view of employees’ care-related spending, coverage utilization patterns, purchasing patterns, and opportunities for consumer-centric plan utilization and selection.

Combining a data analytics engine into your decision support enables employees to finally make use of their own data – without the need for spreadsheets, number-crunching, or a statistics degree. Your benefits administration platform should offer a seamless solution that easily incorporates this technology and predictive analytics into your benefits offering.

For example, imagine that an employee has just welcomed a new child to their family. Now, they are tasked with enrolling in their benefits, but are unsure if they should change their medical insurance coverage after this major life event. How might their anxiety and experience change if they encountered the following message when they went to enroll on your benefits platform?

“Congratulations on your baby delivery this year! Despite it costing you $6,500, the plan you had this year was the best option for you, and you saved $500 overall. Keeping your plan will save you money next year too.”

This message not only provides a clear recommendation to your employees, as well as offer a cost-savings prediction in the year ahead, but also provides understanding support and encouragement that your employees crave and will appreciate.

In addition to supporting decision-making during enrollment, an advanced analytics engine should also help facilitate year-round engagement and look out for your employees’ financial and health care needs. Personalized messages based on recent claims and utilization patterns will help employees better understand how they can utilize their healthcare coverage, provider choices, voluntary benefits, and savings account options in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. Leveraging new technologies and benefits management software solutions in conjunction with data has big advantages for your business: Employees can save a median of $1,500, and employers can save up to 7% on their healthcare costs.

In a world where algorithms help us decide the next article to read, next song to listen to, and even the next job we’ll hold, it is critical that HR paves the way for technology to better the lives of employees and their families. As benefit leaders achieve greater visibility and influence across organizations of all sizes and complexity, they are expected to bring new solutions to classic challenges and emerging problems alike. How well are you prepared for HR’s new chapter?

For an in-depth look at how this technology is impacting HR, download the At-A-Glance Guide, Analytics and AI in HR: Leveraging Data to Take Control of Your Benefits Strategy. As you read, we’d love to get your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at