Articles — May 25, 2021
Idea Exchange 2021: Takeaways from our Virtual Conference (Part 2)
Highlights from bswift’s annual client and channel partner event
From April 21-22, bswift hosted our annual client and channel partner conference, Idea Exchange. With virtual as our new reality, Idea Exchange went virtual this year because many trending topics and conversations simply couldn’t wait! Our attendees had the opportunity to join us for a variety of informative sessions.
We shared part 1 of our takeaways from Idea Exchange 2021, where we recapped our session with Chris Cox, Senior Vice President of Pharmacy at CVS Health, and our preview of bswift’s recent study with Forrester Research.
Now, we’re covering the highlights from a live recording of an episode of our bWise podcast, and our session with Bonnie Washington, Vice President of Public Policy at CVS Health, on upcoming legislation changes affecting benefits and health care. Check it out below!
A sneak peek at the next episode of our podcast, bWise
Our attendees had the exciting opportunity to join us for a live recording of our podcast, bWise! Hosted by Don Garlitz, SVP, Strategic Partnerships at bswift, guests for this episode included Kate Taylor of Benefit Technology Resources, Mike Hager of Hager Strategic, and Sean Clem of Brown and Brown Insurance.
This episode focuses on the state of the ben admin market, changes we’ve seen during the pandemic, and what the future holds for ben admin. Here’s a sneak peek!
2020 has been a reality check: Kate explained that many employers with existing ben admin technology platforms realized their platforms had gaps in meeting employee needs, and those still using paper realized it was time to make the move to technology. (In fact, our study with Forrester found that over half of employers said their benefits technology failed to meet employee needs during the pandemic.*)
Increased focus on communication: Employers are seeking the ability to push benefits communications (including texts, emails and videos) out from the benefits platform itself and embed them within the enrollment experience. Mike explained that many HCM platforms being used today don’t have these abilities, and that this will be an area of interest for employers well into next year.
Need for more connected experiences: Kate shared that during the pandemic, many of her ben admin clients have been seeking improved connectivity with their current benefits technology and other benefits and health care vendors.
Employers are reevaluating financial priorities: Sean explained that during the pandemic, employers realized the value of investing in a good ben admin platform, especially those with strong communication abilities. Now, employers are taking the time to reevaluate their budgets, and Sean predicts this will lead to enhanced budgets for ben admin solutions. (Check out our latest webinar to learn more about how partnering with an innovative ben admin provider can help you adapt to these evolving times.)
Keep an eye out for this upcoming episode! In the meantime, check out our current episode library.
Key legislation updates affecting health care and benefits
Our attendees had the privilege of hearing from Bonnie Washington, Vice President of Public Policy at CVS Health, on recent legislation updates. Bonnie focused on a wide range of legislation and regulations affecting the health care and benefits space, including:
No Surprises Act: This recently enacted federal law aims to protect consumers from the cost of unanticipated out-of-network medical bills and goes into effect January 2022.
The American Rescue Plan: This bill was signed into law in March and allowed for a temporary 100% COBRA premium subsidy, from April 1, 2021 to September 31, 2021, for certain COBRA eligible individuals that have lost their job due to a reduction of hours or involuntary termination. Additionally, this bill also increased the amount of and individual eligibility for ACA premium tax credits, helped states with Medicaid costs, and expanded eligibility for postpartum women for Medicaid.
Transparency in Coverage Rule: Parts of this final rule go into effect as early as 1/1/2022. It requires the following:
- Beginning in 2022, insurers must make available machine-readable files for public use, reflecting negotiated rates for covered items and services with network providers, as well as historical payments to and billed charges from out-of-network providers.
- A consumer-facing tool for cost-sharing information, set to go into effect 1/1/2023.
And that wraps our recap of Idea Exchange 2021! You can access the recordings of these sessions here. Stay tuned for more next year!
* Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of bswift, March 2021.