bswift and <i>Employee Benefit News</i> Study Shows Employer Focus on Biometric Data and Technology to Control Health Care Costs : bswift Press Release

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bswift and Employee Benefit News Study Shows Employer Focus on Biometric Data and Technology to Control Health Care Costs

CHICAGO, IL — Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Employers in 2012 continue to enhance their wellness programs to change employee behavior and move toward health outcomes that impact the bottom line. At the same time, many are also capitalizing on benefits automation tools, although a significant proportion of companies—even large ones—have yet to realize the full potential for cost savings and operational efficiency.

These insights come from the third annual bswift 2012 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study, conducted in conjunction with Employee Benefit News. More than 340 employee benefit and human resources professionals from the private and public sectors participated in the study.

“Employers are actively modifying and upgrading their wellness programs as they learn from experience, putting a greater emphasis on employee incentives and the use of biometric data,” said bswift CEO Rich Gallun. “The study shows that organizations are not waiting for absolute clarity on the future of national health reform to get a grip on health expenditures and to improve the health of their employees and dependents through wellness programs.”

Key Findings – Wellness
Of companies with more than 500 employees:
  • 76 percent now offer some form of incentives—typically more “carrots” than “sticks”—to motivate employee participation in wellness programs. The most commonly incentivized components include health risk assessments (HRAs) and tobacco cessation programs.
  • 60 percent now incorporate biometric testing (measuring such health indicators as blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI) into their wellness programs, and 40 percent of employers offering wellness programs also provide incentives—such as credits toward health benefit contributions—to employees for completing the tests.
  • Employers are beginning to incentivize employees to achieve specific biometric targets: 10 percent have taken this step, a practice many previously considered to be overly intrusive.
Key Findings – Automation
Of companies with more than 500 employees:
  • 34 percent use entirely paper-based benefits enrollment processes for newly hired employees and 81 percent manually monitor incomplete enrollments to alert new hires or do not alert them at all.
  • Only 36 percent have an automated dependent “age out” process for canceling coverage (e.g., reaching age 26).
  • 34 percent still manually reconcile paper health insurance invoices against benefit records or do not reconcile at all.
The study also included data on the cost impact of an effective wellness program and a fully automated benefits administration solution: 327 percent and 410 percent risk-adjusted ROI, respectively.

“The findings are clear,” Gallun noted. “Employers continue to leave money on the table when it comes to benefits administration. We anticipate that the unrelenting pressures to improve organizational performance and profitability will drive more employers to implement fully automated solutions to save money in order to free up staff and also detect costly errors.”

To download a copy of the full report, 2012 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study, please visit

About bswift
bswift is changing the world of benefits administration by combining deep expertise and a passion for technological innovation with a unique consumer-driven approach. Partnering with enterprises nationwide and serving millions of employees, bswift offers cloud-based technology and services for online enrollment, interactive decision support, ACA compliance reporting and employee engagement. bswift also provides access to consumerism, product and consulting solutions needed to build a benefits program specialized for both employers and employees alike. For more information about bswift, an Aetna company, visit


Emma Crowe