Large employers rank user experience over cost when choosing benefits administration platforms

Cost is not the primary driver for large employers that are assessing strategic health and welfare benefits administration platforms, according to a survey of Fortune 100 companies from brokerage Pacific Resources. In 2017, only 23.9 percent of employers cited cost as the most important factor when selecting a benefits administration platform (down from 64.4 percent in 2016). Instead, large employers prefer a “best-in-class” employee user experience (49 percent) and the ability to integrate benefits technology with human resource functions (37 percent).

The survey also found the following:

  • Replacing cost as driving factors in benefits administration platform selection are administrative ease at 61.4 percent (up from 38 percent in 2016), and empowering employees to make informed benefits decisions at 51.5 percent (up from 24.4 percent in 2016).
  • Just over 83 percent of employers indicated that communication, employee education, and engagement are integral to their overall health and welfare benefits delivery strategy. In addition, most employers (88.8 percent) felt that guided decision support, cost calculators, and plan comparison tools were at least somewhat effective.
  • Outsourcing of employee eligibility and enrollment processes grew sharply in 2017, up 22 percentage points from 36 percent to 58 percent.
  • Employers are confident in and rely upon technology to deliver benefits, but less than half (45.5 percent) say they are likely to remain with their current benefits administration platform vendor, while 29.5 percent are unsure and 25 percent are likely to go out to bid to test the market. This may indicate a need for better technology and/or execution.

“This year’s survey shows that employers want a more holistic approach to strategic benefits delivery. They want to integrate the right products, user-friendly technology, and clear communications so they can offer the right benefits to employees and their families,” said Sean Clem, Vice President of Technology, Marketplace and Engagement Solutions at Pacific Resources.

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