Product innovations and enhancements are announced as leading benefits software provider hosts technology, healthcare, benefits and HR professionals in Charleston, S.C.
Charleston, S.C. – May 7, 2014 – The Affordable Care Act continues to impact the employee benefits landscape, and employers are now evaluating strategies that embrace benefits for the whole workforce, Benefitfocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: BNFT) President and CEO Shawn Jenkins said today in the Keynote Address for the company’s annual One Place user conference. Benefitfocus is a leading provider of cloud-based benefits software solutions.
In his address, Jenkins discussed the shifting new directions within the benefits industry, and he outlined how the company has evolved its technology to provide support that meets the growing demand for value-based benefits technology in both the employer and insurance carrier markets.
The company unveiled the concept of “Benefits for the Whole Workforce™” and framed this phenomenon for the audience with the key insight that “Now, everyone is eligible.” The Keynote set the stage for this year’s agenda at One Place, which is focused on new technology designed to simplify benefits administration. This week’s conference features speakers from leading organizations such as LinkedIn, PayPal, TIMCO Aviation Services, Florida Blue and California Institute of Technology.
Benefits for the Whole Workforce™
The Whole Workforce vision set the stage for seven announcements centered on Benefitfocus’ new private marketplace offerings and enhancements to existing products and services that will support the administration of complex benefit programs and health insurance exchange implementation. Through data visualization paired with information analysis and reporting dashboards, Benefitfocus brings clients and this year’s conference attendees more insight into optimizing the user experience for better engagement, plan participation, health management and brand loyalty.
With the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, everyone is eligible, and exchange technology can help consumers shop for the best deal, whether that is a traditional Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or the option to apply for federally subsidized medical coverage. Beyond healthcare, an exchange can encompass options to enroll in voluntary benefits that companies increasingly offer to be more competitive for talent recruiting.
To help employers navigate this uncharted environment, Jenkins announced Benefitfocus HR INTOUCH MARKETPLACE®: The Whole Workforce Edition. This new offering provides employers with a familiar model for managing benefits while also supporting their entire workforce regardless of an individual’s eligibility for company-sponsored coverage. This enhanced solution extends the value of the BENEFITFOCUS® Platform for clients by opening up benefit options to support enrollment in voluntary benefits and employee-specific enrollment workflows configured for full-time, part-time and variable workers as well as retirees.
“The advent of marketplaces or even the first notion of a new retail channel for purchasing benefits promised consumers more choice, and now we have an incredible number of options available,” Jenkins continued. “That is good. Benefits are good. However, now there is equal if not more responsibility on the part of the consumer to make the right choice for their individual healthcare and financial needs. We are helping consumers by providing insurance carriers, employers and brokers with the technology platform to not only offer a wide array of products, but also solutions that offer personalized communication and decision support based on an individual’s coverage eligibility and subsidy qualifications.”
This Whole Workforce Edition features a “Smart Welcome” home page that begins the familiar online guided shopping experience. Additionally, Benefitfocus offers employers a solution that lets their employees access federally subsidized benefits from within HR INTOUCH MARKETPLACE. Beyond supporting enrollment, the Platform facilitates year-round communication and administration that provides constant access for an employer’s HR, Finance and Internal Communications Teams.
Jenkins also introduced PayFlex, Transamerica and WorkForce Software as new members of the BENEFITFOCUS® Ecosystem. With a suite of services including HSAs, FSAs, HRAs, COBRA and Direct Billing administration, PayFlex will be able to transmit data directly with HR INTOUCH MARKETPLACE. The new Transamerica App allows insurance carriers, brokers and employers to incorporate voluntary benefits options for life, accident and critical illness alongside their core medical benefits within their marketplace solution. Access to WorkForce Software’s EmpCenter® suite via HR INTOUCH MARKETPLACE helps organizations better manage time and labor, as well as leave management and compliance costs while increasing employee productivity and satisfaction.
“As a company, we follow a strategic roadmap which we call The Next Five Octobers,” remarked Jenkins. “It shapes the way we design our products and how we build our community of talented associates, clients and partners that influence the development process. We concentrate on who and what can improve the user experience and how our technology can bring a better benefits experience to the more than 23 million consumers on our Platform. This is an exciting time for us, and it really is a result of our associates’ hard work and disciplined approach to preparing for what we are seeing today – the emergence of multi-year and even decade-long trends in this industry.”
Benefitfocus Implementation Program
Showcasing the growing industry demand, research by Accenture1 estimates 40 million individuals will be enrolled in private health insurance exchanges by 2018, surpassing state and federally sponsored public exchanges. Marketplace technology allows insurance carriers to offer more options in terms of cost, network and coverage level across all industry channels. Individuals as well as employers of all sizes can utilize BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplaces to more effectively shop, enroll, manage and exchange benefits information.
Rich Birhanzel, managing director of Accenture Health Administration Services, joined Jenkins on stage to announce Accenture’s participation in the Benefitfocus Implementation Program, an initiative to support the benefits industry’s need to scale significantly in order to support the millions of newly eligible benefits consumers. Benefitfocus selected Accenture as the preferred integrator for the installation of its private health insurance exchange solutions. In this role, Accenture will serve insurance carriers, benefits consultants and employers in configuring and deploying Benefitfocus Marketplace Solutions. This selection builds on the previous work Accenture and Benefitfocus have each conducted implementing private health insurance exchanges.
Additionally, Deloitte Consulting, Aasonn, HRchitect and ROC Americas will participate in the Benefitfocus Implementation Program, supporting employer implementations through the configuration and loading of employer data onto the Benefitfocus Platform. Benefitfocus is developing the certification program for implementation providers through Benefitfocus University. Benefitfocus University was established to provide the necessary training, certification and program curriculum for the Benefitfocus Implementation Program providers to develop proficiency in Benefitfocus software as well as the software implementation tools and requirements for implementing Benefitfocus software.
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Matt Lafata, HRchitect