Today, many businesses are moving to private exchanges, and the trend is expected to grow. In 2014, consulting firm Accenture reported that an estimated 9 million people would be covered through private exchanges in 2015 — and the same report predicts that by 2018, more than 40 million Americans will receive their health care coverage through a private exchange plan.
Though what kind of impact do private exchanges have on the human resources staffers? Do private exchanges streamline the process, or do they create more headaches for already overtaxed HR employees? Most experts say private exchanges will make HR managers’ lives much easier, and here’s a look into why.
Private exchanges reduce administrative tasks
Because a private exchange gives the employee the power of choice, there’s no need for the HR team to act as a middleman. Employees obtain their enrollment forms, summary of benefits, and other important plan information directly from the provider of the private exchange, alleviating much of the paperwork that often falls on the shoulders of HR staff. In some situations, the exchange will even provide a team of people to help employees get answers to questions and navigate the decision-making and enrollment processes. Regardless, private exchanges ease the burden on busy HR departments when it comes to managing employee health insurance.
Private exchanges reduce concerns about compliance
The health care environment is changing, and for many human resources departments, keeping up with the latest rules and regulations of group health insurance is a full-time job. And filing the proper reports to prove compliance is tedious and time consuming. Yet with a defined contribution or private exchange health insurance model, the private exchange takes on the role of handling compliance-related issues, giving HR departments more peace of mind.
Private exchanges lead to fewer employee complaints
What happens when a company’s group insurance policy doesn’t cover something that an employee thinks it should, or when there’s a billing issue related to a premium? The employee calls the company HR office and complains or asks for assistance. Though because private exchanges allow employees to pick the plan that best suits their needs and budget, HR can anticipate fewer complaints about unnecessary but costly benefits. Additionally, if the employee has questions about billing, benefits, or other plan issues, the private exchange can direct the consumer to its provider, keeping the HR team from being stuck in the middle. Happier employees mean fewer frustrated phone calls and teary tirades to the HR team.
Private exchanges increase HR productivity
Because the exchanges release the HR team from spearheading the enrollment process and take away many of the compliance hassles that HR typically has to handle, the team is able to focus on other important tasks, like developing corporate health and wellness programs, helping an employee resolve a dispute with a colleague, or even interviewing potential new hires. In essence, your HR staffers are better able to focus on the core aspects of their job because the health insurance function has effectively been outsourced.
Private Exchanges Create a Win-Win Situation
Private exchanges are not only allowing employees to personally select a plan that best meets their needs, but they’re also making life much easier for HR managers across the U.S. By reducing administrative tasks and paperwork and alleviating compliance concerns, HR staffers are able to be more productive. Because employees are happier, human resource professionals won’t have to deal with as many complaints or anxious emails. It’s easy to see why many businesses consider the private exchange insurance solution to be a win-win for everyone involved.
Lauren Mandel is the Content Marketing Manager for GoHealth Insurance. GoHealth powers one of the nation’s leading private health insurance exchanges for individuals and families.