Administering employee group benefits plans directly with insurance carriers, or through many ben-admin modules in HRIS platforms, comes at a cost. Some obvious, like a lack of robust data compliance built into these systems, which results in liabilities in the way of plan member data errors. Some, less obvious but still significant, like: the lack of robust data retention.
Consider the following example:
Once a year, a company and its benefits advisor receives a renewal report from the plan carrier. The report will provide some usage figures on the plan and will set out next year’s premium rates for the plan. The company and advisor will only be able to review the figures set out in the report, and then decide whether to: accept the new rate, ask for a rate break, or go to the carrier market for a better rate. If the company changes carriers for the better rate, what then?
Data collection occurs in the carrier’s system, as does claims processing. The company is not in control of its data. The spillover effects from this problem are twofold:
- The company can’t verify that the information in the carrier report is accurate.
- The data history generated during the company’s plan will be lost if the company changes carriers.
In our example, the fact that the company does not control its data reduces its bargaining position when deciding whether to accept the new rate or consider a carrier change. But a carrier change is not a solution to the problem in the long term, and it comes with short term consequences too.
For example, following through on a carrier change requires the re-enrollment of the entire company with a new plan carrier, learning its admin system and technical guide, and working with a new customer service team. Also, and just as important, a carrier change means that the company will lose all of its eligibility and claims experience history from its current plan. What this means is that the company loses its ability to audit their data and mine it for trends and changes over time and across carrier changes. Taken together, the company’s options are to remain reliant on carrier data with the carrier that has its history, or to restart the cycle with a new carrier.
A leading benefits administration software and service provider will solve this problem.
Whether your company is a small business or an enterprise, using a leading ben-admin platform will permit you to keep your company’s plan member eligibility data across insurance carrier and provider changes. And a truly leading technology can also permit you to retain your company’s claims experience data, so that you can leverage it to ensure your data is reflected correctly in your carrier’s renewal reports. This puts you in control of your data and allows your company and advisor to leverage long term insights into your employee benefits program.
Long story short: Make sure your company is in control of its data.