The introduction of a digital mindset has had a significant impact on industry and business, including employee health benefits. While “digital” can have different meanings to different companies, the common theme is that it involves innovation, efficiencies, creating value and making better decisions.
There are a number of ways that digital platforms and solutions have found their way into employee health benefits, and the result has been an improved benefits experience: plan administrators and plan members both benefit from digital services.
The introduction of online enrollment for employee benefits was a huge advancement in employee benefits administration. As more and more industries embraced a digital world, GroupHEALTH began to wonder how a digital platform could add value for clients. The result was the creation of Canada’s first online employee benefits enrollment platform. We called it Enrol-Me Online and we haven’t looked back since.
Before online enrollment, the process of enrolling employees in an employee benefits plan was labour-intensive. The first step required employees to complete and submit paper enrollment cards. Next, the plan administration team would do their best to accurately decode and transfer the information into an online administration system. It was sometimes a challenge to decipher messy or incomplete enrollment cards, which could lead to errors.
Online enrollment changed all of that. Now, online enrollment means employees are sent an e-mail with a link to register. They fill in their enrollment online and are prompted to ensure all relevant information is entered. They have access to help functions that explain the information required and they can access answers to the most common questions that people have about the different fields. Employees are sent reminder emails if they have not completed enrollment.
From an administration viewpoint, the time savings is phenomenal. Plan Administration staff can see who has enrolled and follow up with those who haven’t completed enrollment. The process is much more accurate and efficient. It’s also a better experience for Plan Members.
Online Plan Administration
An online Plan Administration platform is a must when embracing a digital world. GroupHEALTH has a purpose-built platform called WEBS online. The robust system was designed to be user-friendly, and it allows Plan Administrators to administer the plan from anywhere at any time. The system has the capacity to automate key tasks and day-to-day duties of a Plan Administrator to free up their time for other tasks.
It’s also possible to create custom reports to break down plan costs and usage in a way that makes sense for each business. For larger businesses, the ability to create divisional reports is also valuable. From an efficiency standpoint, using an online platform for plan administration just makes sense.
For employees, having access to a digital platform and mobile app for benefits is the ultimate in convenience. A mobile app means plan members can access benefits information any time of the day or night, from anywhere. They can also submit benefits claims directly from their mobile device and be reimbursed via direct deposit. Some apps even come with helpful tools to find providers (for example, massage therapists or dentists).
Accessing benefits digitally
So far, we’ve talked about the administrative side of employee benefits and a digital platform. Turns out, there are also benefits themselves that can be accessed digitally.
- Virtual Healthcare – This means connecting with a doctor or nurse practitioner using technology. Traditionally, seeing a doctor meant: booking a doctor’s appointment; spending time and money driving to the doctor’s office; waiting in the office to see the doctor; and then driving home. Usually, this process meant missing at least a few hours of work and spending time and money travelling to the appointment. Then came virtual healthcare. It can be accessed from anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s extremely convenient because it eliminates the travel and waiting time. More than half of the issues traditionally addressed in a doctor’s office can be handled with a virtual healthcare appointment. If ‘going digital’ means creating value, this is a huge opportunity to increase the value of an employee benefits plan.
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – An employee and family assistance program is another employee benefit that is well entrenched in the digital world. While it does offer in-person support, there are many options that can be accessed using technology. A cornerstone of an employee and family assistance program is counselling; while traditionally counselling was done in-person, these days virtual appointments are almost the norm. Other elements of the EFAP such as articles, podcasts and toolkits can all be accessed remotely. Even personal training programs such as LIFT can be accessed using technology. The possibilities are endless.
Good Advice is Key
If your employee benefits plan does not embrace our digital world, it might be time for an overhaul. Maximize plan efficiency and improve the employee benefits experience by leveraging technology. Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.