Guest Blog Post from IDC: Unlocking the Power of Employee Healthcare Benefits Data

This blog, authored by Lisa Rowan, VP of Modern HR Strategies at IDC, discusses the critical role that healthcare technology solutions and analytical tools play in helping employers better attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market.


Unlocking the Power of Employee Healthcare Benefits Data

Date: May 24, 2022

Guest IDC Blogger: Lisa Rowan, VP Modern HR Strategies

Sponsored By: SAP

Many organizations struggle to answer the simplest of questions when it comes to their employer-sponsored healthcare benefit plans. Questions such as:

  • How much will we be spending on healthcare this year?
  • How does a change in plan design impact employer costs and the employee?
  • Is our employee benefit plan achieving the desired objective?

Effectively managing employer-sponsored health plans often involves multiple vendors, disparate systems, and infrequent reports.  Additionally, many employers are only able to assess benefit costs a few times a year due to the limited access to detailed data and information.  As health care costs continue to rise year after year, employers must find ways to keep their spending in check while delivering benefits that help employees protect their well-being. The ability to proactively manage this balancing act hinges on having the right information at the right time.

Healthcare technology point solutions and analytical tools continue to grow in popularity as they provide organizations access to a consolidated view of their health benefit data. With these resources, decision makers can more easily identify actionable insights to better manage costs and drive more effective health plan utilization to ensure that their employees’ health and well-being needs are being met. This consolidated view of health utilization data also offers value to individual employees in selecting the optimal benefit plan for their families.

This approach can help organizations in a number of ways:

  • They can more effectively model their healthcare programs to support their employees.
    • Organizations can quickly and easily evaluate the potential impact of new health plan designs or changes to existing plans with robust plan modeling tools that re-adjudicate current claims data based on changes to a comprehensive set of plan attributes to create “what-if” scenarios. Based on analysis of the data, employers can see how a plan is being used, and identify specific adjustments that would better support the workforce.
  • Employers are better prepared to assess their overall health benefit plan utilization.
    • Using integrated clinical algorithms, employers can also identify different chronic condition risk such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma throughout the year.
  • Organizations understand where their healthcare dollars are going.
    • Employer-sponsored health benefit plans represent a multi-million-dollar investment for most organizations. Technology solutions offer functionality that allow a clear understanding and visibility into their total healthcare spending.
  • Employers can improve the employee health benefits experience.
    • Integrating claims data into the benefit enrollment experience is critical to empowering employees in choosing the proper benefit coverage. Additionally, employees can forecast their future health care costs based on their prior year’s health plan utilization. This expected usage is modeled for each plan option to show what the overall out-of-pocket cost would be for each plan. This approach provides employees with the “real cost” of each plan, beyond just comparing premiums, enabling the employee to choose the best benefit plan for their situation.

Employee turnover continues to be exceedingly high across all industry sectors as the pandemic-era labor crisis known as the “Great Reshuffle” shows no signs of slowing down.  As individuals continue to seek better working conditions, explore new opportunities, or prematurely leave the workforce altogether, employers must compete for scarce talent on the open market while also trying to retain their existing workers. Total compensation including both salaries and employer-sponsored health benefits play a critical role in an organization’s ability to gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent in today’s tight labor market.

Employers need to understand how their employer-sponsored health benefits are being utilized to optimize adoption and usage while meeting the health and well-being needs of their workforce. Competitive benefit offerings with administrative tools to assist in employee benefit decision making offers a positive employee experience that can help to improve overall talent attraction and retention.

To learn more about healthcare spend management visit SAP U.S. Benefits Administration by Benefitfocus at SAP.com.

About Lisa

Lisa Rowan is Research Vice President for IDC responsible for global research on human capital and talent management software and services. Ms. Rowan provides expert analysis focused on both the business services and software used to address HR and talent-related dimensions. Her research addresses developments in human capital and talent management applications, human resources consulting, and HR outsourcing services.