In the last few years, the market for the enterprise health benefits platform has been growing rapidly. In response to this rise in demand, a number of health plan-focused tech companies have chosen to adapt their solutions to serve employers. Employers should be skeptical.
When evaluating one of these vendors, employers should rightfully wonder whether they would ever be treated as a true “priority customer.” Most health plans offer coverage to far more members than a typical employer—by orders of magnitude. Even so-called “small regional health plans” often have membership in the millions. The truth is, every day technology companies must prioritize internal resources—design, engineering, and customer service work—across their client portfolio. And if they are forced to make tradeoffs between serving an employer customer vs. serving health plan, you can be certain the employer will get the short-end of the stick.
Number of Members
Another key point to consider is that employers and health plans have considerably different needs. For example, the following list outlines a sample of some of the employer-specific requirements Jiff has incorporated into our products.
- Geographic reach. The platform operates across a broad geographic footprint, both nationally and internationally. Large employers often operate across state and country lines, whereas many carriers are typically regional.
- Carrier flexibility. The platform accommodates a wide range of benefits plan design and different insurance carriers. Large employers often utilize multiple different insurance carriers, whereas carriers prefer their platforms to encourage “lock-in”.
- Modular ecosystem. The platform allows HR leaders to rapidly swap in and out different programs based on what’s working and what’s not. Insurance carriers are much slower to adopt new strategies than employers, so have less need for agility.
- HR Communications. The platform can engage employees in non-health related, but HR critical information, for example voluntary benefits, 401k, and employee pulse surveys. Health plans have need to incorporate other HR requirements into their interface.
- Culture of health. The platform builds workplace camaraderie, mixing real-world events and experiences with in-app experiences in a way that meshes with company culture. Health plans are notoriously poor at building consumer affiliation, and have limited interest in building a unique, differentiated “member culture”.
For all these reasons, we believe it’s a critical for employers strongly consider platform vendors that focus exclusively on employers.
Jiff is and has always been employer-focused. We built our platform from the ground-up with employers in mind. And we are passionately dedicated supporting employers, who without a doubt have the most at stake in managing healthcare value.