New index provides insights and creates a model to help consumers better understand and prioritize benefits investments
Benefitfocus, Inc., a leading cloud-based benefits management platform and services provider, announced the release of the Consumer Benefits Coverage Index. The Index creates a model for evaluating how adequately a consumer is protected through the employer-based benefits they’ve purchased. The value of the Index lies not only in serving as a benchmark for consumers to compare their own benefits coverage to that of their peers, but also to provide greater awareness on how they could better protect themselves and their families. For its initial findings, Benefitfocus examined a representative sample of US consumers and determined that the average consumer may not be adequately protected in key areas, and that there is opportunity for additional education when it comes to benefit selection.
“We provide insight for the entire benefits industry comprised of employers, brokers, carriers and product suppliers into the purchasing behavior and coverage gaps present among consumers,” said Ray August, President & CEO, Benefitfocus. “The Index processes millions of enrollment transactions from our platform and transforms them into a simple model for employers and consumers to evaluate the fitness of their benefit decisions and raise their benefits IQ.”
Created by Benefitfocus using its proprietary, annually recurring research (previously published in the State of Employee Benefits reports), the Index draws on anonymized, actual benefits enrollment data pulled from the BENEFITFOCUS Platform. The Index examines consumers’ spending decisions specific to voluntary benefits, defined for the purposes of the Index as those non-medical benefits offered through an employer but paid for partially or solely by the consumer. These benefits span across three product categories—health (e.g., dental, vision or health advocacy), wealth (e.g., life insurance or health spending accounts) and lifestyle (e.g., identity theft protection or pet insurance). Each benefits category in the Index is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 (with an aggregate score range of 0-300), reflecting the average spend by a consumer in these categories relative to their peer group. Scores can fall in one of three ranges that approximate optimal and sub-optimal coverage based on how similar or dissimilar an individual’s coverage is to their peer group.
“Our goal is to use our massive data intelligence to drive greater awareness of the benefits purchasing habits of working Americans,” said Jennifer Clark, Director of Artificial Intelligence Strategy at Benefitfocus. “For employers, this data set may help them optimize their benefits offerings based on their employee demographics. For consumers, the Index sheds much-needed light into purchasing habits and may lead to a better understanding of what makes sense for individuals based on their salary, age, etc. – which are constantly changing. The Index provides a framework to refer to when considering coverage and life transitions.”