The “socially distant” world we currently live in has not deterred us from staying on top of HR and benefits administration product developments. In late April, members of our Employee Navigator (EN) team logged in for a week of virtual conference sessions hosted by EN. Employee Navigator is one of BTR’s pre-vetted and preferred benefits administration providers that we offer selectively to clients who have no need for the RFP process. The virtual conference brought together EN users and partners for product news and updates, a Q&A with EN leadership, carrier presentations and more. While we missed connecting face-to-face with industry colleagues, we took away some important information, which we are pleased to share these with our family of brokers to assist you in your role as a benefits adviser to your clients.
COVID-19 product enhancements. Employee Navigator continues to update its software in response to changes related to COVID-19, including the ability to add new qualifying events specifically associated with the pandemic, and to address some of the administrative burdens faced by brokers and users during this time. Among the enhancements to come is support for remote enrollment assistance and onboarding, e.g., e-signatures, online chat, call scheduling, etc. With an EN account or registration, you can access EN’s COVID-19 FAQs and Best Practices and EN’s software enhancements for COVID-19.
EN reporting growth mode. Despite the current economic downturn, Employee Navigator reported strong business and financial activity thru April of this year. As a family owned company, EN has made no reduction to their workforce and recently opened a new location in the Salt Lake City area. EN provided a snapshot of their “Storefront” activity, highlighting $23 million in premiums, 13 million lines of coverage, 46,000 companies, 5.7 million employees on the platform and more than 1 million HR tasks completed for employees. CEO George Reese says that EN remains focused on providing services to the broker—not on what others in the industry might be doing.
2020 EN roadmap. Employee Navigator feels no need to throw out their 2020 roadmap despite Covid-19. They are accelerating five previously planned projects. Key markers on the roadmap include:
- Updated plans for Commuter, HSA, Group and Voluntary Life
- New “secret” projects for EN’s third-party app providers
- Accelerated payroll integration, single sign-on for ADP and other operational improvements
- PDF forms for HR
- Ongoing rollout of hundreds of maintenance features
Carrier integration. Employee Navigator is adding a new carrier data exchange option for clients—one they believe to be more efficient than the standard EDI 834 file format. This new carrier exchange includes UHC Prime (currently in beta test) and EN expects Ameritas, Reliance Standard, Versant, CHUBB and AFLAC will follow.
Multi-tenant EDI file feeds. Employee Navigator reports that multi-tenant EDI files feeds are available for BCBS Massachusetts, BCBS Michigan, Capital Blue Cross, CBA Blue, Delta Dental of Michigan, EBPA, EyeMed and Highmark. This allows EN to efficiently service all companies (including small ones whose scale may not warrant dedicated infrastructure) and to drive down costs.
Product News & Updates
- Broker tools. New integration information on the Broker Homepage Dashboard shows the number of payroll integrations available for a broker’s companies. A “Learn More” button allows the broker to see which companies have integrations available, as well as the name of the payroll provider (if the company provided the information). From here, carrier employee demographics can be audited, and brokers will be advised of any required actions related to integration. Also, for brokers…EN’s task library is built on the agency level and can be shared among companies.
- HR admin tools. For companies that have indicated they are using one of Employee Navigator’s integrated payroll partners, an “Integrate Now” button takes the user to the company payroll tab to complete integration actions. A “Learn More” button appears if a company has indicated they are not using an integrated partner—taking the user to a page with information about the benefits of integrating with an EN payroll partner. Also new is enhanced reportable fields and search functionality, including the addition of spouse/child(ren) per-pay-cost to the Voluntary and Group Life Report, the option to include the last four digits of the SSN and primary email to the Insurability Report, and searchable fields on the employee data sheet. Coming soon…the option to move all new hires during the Open Enrollment period to the OE window—eliminating the duplicate enrollment windows and the need for duplicate reporting to capture both OE and new hires’ elections.
- New integration partners. Employee Navigator announced new (or coming soon) partners, including:
- Payroll: DM Payroll Solutions, iSolved (beta testing) and Paychex (in contract negotiations).
- TPA integrations: Rocky Mountain Reserve (COBRA only), Lifetime Benefit Solutions (COBRA only) and Varipro (cafeteria and COBRA).
- Ancillary insurance providers: Beam Dental, Kansas City Life, Equitable (all new) and Allstate, Mass Mutual and The Standard (all upcoming).
- Health Insurance: UnitedHealthcare (beta testing) and Aetna.
Carrier presentations. Throughout the week EN hosted presentations on integration with several carriers/products. Following are highlights from presentations by EyeMed, Aflac and ADP Payroll.
- EyeMed sends a weekly full file on Thursdays, starting at midnight. The portal remains open to HR administration during this time. COBRA information is included by default; if not needed, the COBRA enrollment group number can be deactivated.
- Aflac offers two integration methods: 1) The Data Exchange and 2) Aflac Everwell (third-party app). With the data exchange, a full file is transmitted on the 10th of each month. Marketplace library plans (custom plan shells available to groups with 100+ eligible employees) can be downloaded from the EN Marketplace for group products. These plans include basic eligibility settings, questions and disclosures for use during enrollment, and the ability to attach riders from the library. Group Accident, Hospital Indemnity and Critical Illness plans are available for new and existing groups in the Marketplace library and Marketplace data exchange. Not supported is Critical Illness plans offering coverage above guarantee issue, and groups with a single Aflac contract but multiple companies built in EN underneath that contract. Companies offering products outside of the data exchange supported list are ineligible for Marketplace library plans.
- ADP Workforce Now Payroll. EN receives demographic updates nightly from ADP. ADP does not accept $0 deductions from EN through API (if changing plans from cost to $0 value, the original deduction amount must be manually edited in ADP). Also, ADP does not support recurring earnings/employer contributions, 401K plans, Universal Plan types within EN or commuter benefits. As part of an upcoming enhancement to the ADP Workforce Now, the ADP API will ignore employee records with no SSN in the file sent to EN from ADP—eliminating the duplication of employee records. This update will be reflected in the next EN site update.
Broker opportunity: Employee Navigator has some 2,100 clients using ADP Workforce Now but which are not using the Payroll integration. This equates to more than 180,000 employees for whom HR users are manually keying/importing data into two systems. If your clients are among them…this is a great opportunity to demonstrate your value as a trusted advisor!
The 2020 Employee Navigator Conference provided important information for users of the EN platform and their brokers (or those considering a change). Our independent team of HR technology consultants can work with you and your clients to help determine the best system to meet their needs. To learn more, contact us at 1-877-299-8155 or visit bentechre.com.
Like most other industry events, the 2020 BTR Summit will be held…virtual style! Join us on June 17 to connect with BTR team members who will share best practices and insights on the future of the industry and ways you can take your HR tech strategy to the next level. It’s all free and a great place to get HR technology and benefit administration tips for your clients and prospects.