bswift Idea Exchange: Innovation and Ben Admin Technology

As the world continues to navigate the new landscape that COVID-19 presents, almost every norm we knew beforehand has changed. Conferences in the Ben Admin and HR Tech space are no exception! 2020 saw vast cancellations of in-person conferences – many that went virtual. This year’s bswift Idea Exchange was converted to separate webinars that attendees could attend from their own home office. BTR’s Shannon Spilko, Danielle Haynes and Kellie Aisenstark attended bswift’s webinars on behalf of our organization. We have compiled their biggest takeaways here.

Open Enrollment Self-Service Functionality

On July 15, bswift’s Idea Exchange hosted a webinar highlighting the solution’s self-service Open Enrollment functionality, featuring bswift team members Shekhar Khera, SVP of Product Management, Mike Masini, Director of Client Services, and Jacob Foreman, Associate Director of Client Services. Open Enrollment (OE) Self-Service functionality is coming soon to streamline the OE experience. This tool will take an HR Admin step-by-step through the configuration of plans, rates, documents, customized text configurations and more – making the OE setup process even easier. The tool is designed for administrators, so the decisions will be made and then published to their employees. Other items to note: AskEmma, bswift’s revolutionary decision support tool, will not be driven by this self-service functionality. Defined contributions will also not be supported. At this time, BTR will not be adopting the self-service functionality for our bswift clients as this is a service we provide for our clients.

Currently this functionality is not available to all users.

Innovation and Benefits Administration Technology

Shannon Spilko attended this webinar on July 22 that featured Don Garlitz, SVP of Partnerships at bswift and Mark Reider, Head of Innovation at NFP. This session was focusing on innovating technology in an ever-changing age – particularly as it relates to Benefits Administration. There was a focus on how COVID-19 has adjusted the market – and organizations in general. The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity for organizations – to understand that technology was now a requirement. This opportunity is no different for the Ben Admin market. In fact, insurance buying habits have advanced so quickly in such a short amount of time, that digital transformation is now solving problems. Companies that invest in innovation do better in the future than those who follow the status quo. Benefits Administration solutions need to look at a more innovative approach for the total package to offer – to look beyond just “pet insurance as being “innovative”.

Mark and Don did not leave their viewers hanging – they provided examples of innovation. Some key points discussed are:

  1. Return to Work tools – This is now a necessity and some companies are leading the way in virtual or digital care. Some examples include Crossover, PeakMed, My OnCallDoc and Paladina Health. Providing workforces with resources to stay healthy, get better, and back to work, while feeling supported by their employer.
  2. Impact on Mental Health – Mental Health is the end and the beginning to an employee’s performance. Providing resources for employees to monitor and maintain their mental health is a no-brainer. Spring Health and Total Brain can help.
  3. Emergency Child Care Option – Providing employees with childcare options, FSA funds to help pay and even college savings accounts can increase productivity, lessen personal stress and may improve turnover rates. Bridgecare. Kudos, and Kinside are ways to achieve this within an organization.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life, especially work life. What this session brought to us was the realization that employers who revisit their employee’s benefit package for what makes sense now during/after COVID will lead the way in overall employee health and wellbeing.  The needs have changed and expanded more than medical, dental, vision – it’s about life benefits.