It has been quite a year so far in 2016 and we’re not even to the halfway point yet. However, we’ve noticed some trends that will continue to carry on throughout the year (and perhaps well beyond) in the benefits industry.
Help yourself stay ahead of the curve! Follow along with the presentation we put together on these topics and read about the top five benefit trends in 2016:
1. Benefit Costs Will Continue to Increase – This year we have seen some significant increases in the cost of healthcare. In four states there have been premium increases of 30% or greater and another 17 states have seen increases of at least 20%. Insurance carriers and health providers are impacting the benefits cost growth and will continue to throughout the year. Companies now need to meet the demands of the aging population and the support services that are required. There is also a need to increase the investments to upgrade infrastructure and legacy technologies, as well as a need for additional security and compliance expenses.
2. Healthcare Data Security is up for Another Tough Year – It is expected that in 2016 one in three health care recipients will fall victim to data theft in 2016. Why is that? Healthcare data is an easy target because the benefits industry lags behind financial and other industries when it comes to the maturity of controls, processes, and technologies to secure the infrastructure. Combine that with the fact that the eight out of 10 mobile apps are open to HIPPA violations, it becomes easy to see how the data becomes vulnerable to a breach. In addition, medical data is interconnected to financial information, so it makes the data very desirable to target.
3. Compliance Issues Will Be Front and Center – It appears that in 2016 insurance companies, brokers, and employers will all have compliance issues to worry about. Insurance companies are going to have to deal with a tougher stance on the HIPPA Privacy and Security Rules in 2016, so if they do not comply, the companies will face high financial penalties and damage to their reputation. There have also been transparency and reporting requirements for brokers to deal with, but they have not been enforced as strictly as they should have yet. With tougher enforcement coming this year, most brokers, even those with a national footprint, lack the infrastructure to accurately track and provide disclosures on compliance. For employers, 2016 will be the year that they have to pay fines for ACA violations, but there are also many who are non-compliant overall. For all, this means that there must be a greater investment into security and compliance throughout this year.
4. Consumerism Will Transform the Customer Experience – In order to deal with high benefit costs, and to overcome compliance challenges, both employers and employees are actively pursuing other benefits options. Consumers are becoming savvier looking at all options available to them and are demanding more information for those options, so the best employers are the ones who can put together optimal packages to attract top talent and keep their current employees happy. This is currently driving an evolution of software and technologies that can provide access to more information that employees want to see.
5. There Will be a Rapid HCIT and Benefit Tech Expansion – The health care information technology (HCIT) revolution has already started, but it isn’t close to being finished. Analytics, online benefits shopping, and access to patient health information are some of the fundamental shifts that have taken place. Consumers have also seen their experiences begin to evolve through having benefit information readily available at any time, having medical procedures become more simplified, and health and wellness information start to be more accessible through wearable technology, smartphones, and online portals. Since these are things that consumers are already experiencing, a core shift is on the horizon where consumers expect to continue to see more. Soon there will be a demand to see things like a standardization of communication protocols, information sharing, and insurance distribution models.
Looking over these trends, many are now left asking themselves, “What can I do to be more proactive?” Well you’ve already taken the first step to understand the impact of what is on the horizon in the industry, so don’t simply be an observer. You can participate in the benefit technology expansion and be part of the revolution!
EverythingBenefits can help insurance providers, brokers, and employers stay ahead of the curve in 2016. Insurance providers must understand what clients need and gain access to new distribution outlets. We can help providers use analytics to understand their customers while lowering enrollment and onboarding footprints. For brokers, we can help you differentiate yourself from the traditional broker by becoming a solution provider and helping you gain access to intuitive solutions to get stuff done. We also have solutions for employers to automate enrollment, reduce the manual footprint of COBRA, and eliminate paperwork from your benefits processes by leveraging a benefits platform.
Sound like something you want to see in action? Contact us now for a live demo and stay current in 2016!