Picwell Blog

Evaluating Benefits Decision Support Solutions: A Checklist

Apr 21, 2021 9:58:50 AM / by Picwell

As a benefits professional, you want to help your employees make better benefits decisions and you already know a benefits decision support tool can help. But with an abundance of options available, how do you know which one will be the right fit?  Evaluating and choosing the best solution for your organization can seem like a daunting task - but we’re here to help. 

In order to make your evaluation easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of the most important features you should look for in a benefits decision support solution. With this checklist, you will no longer have to wonder if the solution you choose has the features you need, you’ll already know. So let’s dig in.

What is Benefits Decision Support?

Before we get into what you need to look for in a benefits support decision tool, let’s briefly define what it does. A benefits decision support tool is software that educates employees on the benefits available to them and also helps them select and enroll in the right benefits for their specific needs. The software accounts for each employee’s medical care needs, risk tolerance, and other factors using sophisticated algorithms. It then compares that data to the benefits plans your company offers and suggests which options the employee should choose, based on fit.

Is a Benefits Decision Support Tool Worth the Investment?

The answer here is simple: YES! An effective benefits decision support tool is definitely worth the investment. Here’s why:

  • Your company can help employees enroll in the right benefits -- no matter where they live or where they work.
  • Your employees will understand their benefits, feel confident in their choices, use their plans fully, and be highly satisfied with the suite of perks your firm provides.
  • Your employees will save money by not purchasing more insurance coverage than they need (over-insuring). 
  • Your employees will be more engaged and more likely to stay with the company, which reduces the organization’s recruiting expenses.
  • Your human resources and benefits staff will experience a reduced workload, and will have more bandwidth to take on other tasks and projects.

However, to experience all of the positive results listed above, you must make sure to implement the right benefits decision support solution.

Benefits Decision Support Tool Checklist

Despite there being a range of solutions on the market, it’s important to remember that not all benefits decision support solutions are created equal. Many fall short and the last thing you want is to spend time (and money) only to end up with an ineffective tool. 

The ideal software for your organization must:

  • Be Accessible Anytime, Anywhere

Your employees are likely scattered across different offices, states, or countries. Some of them may work remotely full-time. To ensure everyone receives the benefits education and support they need, the decision support tool you choose must be web-based and accessible from any device that can connect to the internet.

  • Provide Full Benefits Education and Guidance

The best solutions provide education and guidance on all benefits your organization offers, including medical AND supplemental benefits. Your employees shouldn’t have to do their own research to understand what a deductible is or why they might need Hospital Indemnity Insurance - the right tool will provide all of this information right at their fingertips.

  • Be Easy to Use

A benefits decision support tool is supposed to simplify the benefits selection and enrollment process. That means the solution you implement needs to be intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to use. The tool must gather information by asking straightforward questions that your employees can readily answer. Give the software bonus points if it gamifies the enrollment experience and makes it engaging for employees.

  • Predict, Not Calculate

Many tools on the market force employees to guesstimate how much medical care they’ll need in the coming year by asking questions like “How many times do you think you will visit the doctor next year?” Then, the software calculates the projected costs and bases its recommendations on that. But, a calculator isn’t adequate because employees can’t possibly predict how many times they’ll see their physician, go to the emergency room, or fill a prescription in the next 12 months.

Your employees need a benefits decision support tool that can handle the predictions for them.

Successful solutions compare an employee’s past usage (which they can easily provide) to a vast database of other similar people. The algorithm then generates a risk profile that can accurately project how much coverage they’ll need to meet their upcoming medical expenses.

  • Crunch the Numbers

As you know, the math behind benefits plans is complex - even for people who understand precisely how they work. For employees with less information, making accurate calculations is a daunting, near-impossible feat. Superior benefit decision support tools do the math for employees - and display the results in an easy-to-understand format.

The most helpful software considers each employee’s projected health care usage, risk tolerance, and other preferences. Then, it analyzes the benefits your company offers. Finally, it highlights the most appropriate plan options and shows how each choice would impact the employee financially. After using the tool, the employee should know how much every plan will cost them.

  • Educate Employees

Many employees get overwhelmed at benefits enrollment time. Often, they don’t understand their options or which benefits they need. Well-rounded benefits decision support solutions don’t just tell employees what they should enroll in - it also explains why.

The finest tools provide comprehensive benefits education, so that team members understand and know how to use both major medical and supplemental benefits. They also teach employees about high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) since many employees could save money by using them.

The educational approach should be conversational and immersive, featuring interactive tools, videos, real-world examples, and simple definitions of key terms. Employees should be able to learn the information they need in a fast (and fun!) way. The software gets extra credit if it provides email communication templates to foster an open benefits dialogue before, during and between enrollment periods.

  • Help Everyone Save Money

Insurance is expensive - particularly when employees choose the wrong plans. An optimal benefits decision support tool helps both your company and your team members save money. When employees are in the right benefits plans, your organization will pay less in insurance premiums and payroll taxes, and your employees will avoid overpaying for extra coverage that they simply don’t need.

  • Save Everyone Time

Benefits administration is a challenging and time-consuming responsibility for your human resources and benefits team. And your employees need guidance to choose the appropriate plans for their situations. But, it's hard to help everyone - and when your workforce is remote it can seem nearly impossible. The best benefits decision support tools provide every employee with personalized advice on the team's behalf, so you won’t have to worry about missing anyone.

  • Provide Enrollment Insights

An effective benefits decision support tool will provide deep insights - before and after enrollment. Knowing your pre-enrollment baseline will enable you to gauge your enrollment success. Post-enrollment data will help you shape future benefits plans. The best tools provide pre- and post-enrollment insights reports so you can easily evaluate the success of your enrollment efforts.

  • Have a Track Record of Success

Before you commit to a benefits decision support tool, check its track record. You need software that’s proven to generate the results you want. So, don’t be shy! Ask the company for case studies and whitepapers, research the firm’s reputation, and review feedback from current and former customers.

  • Help Employees Make the Right Benefits Choices

This can’t be overstated - the number one thing your benefits decision support tool must do is help your employees make the right benefits choices. The software should walk team members through the enrollment process step-by-step. By the end of the process, they should feel good about their selections and be ready to use the perks that they’ve earned.

One Solution Checks All the Boxes

The best benefits decision support solutions do a lot for your employees and your company. Unfortunately, most products on the market don’t even come close to checking off all of the boxes above. But there is one solution that does. That solution is Picwell DX. 

Picwell DX meets every single criterion and is committed to being the most innovative software available. Our solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven analytics to provide the best benefits recommendations for each and every user. We help take the guesswork out of both medical and supplemental benefits, allowing your employees to experience the peace of mind they deserve.

Let us help you help your team. Download our free checklist here.

Schedule a demo today to see why over 1.5 million consumers have used Picwell to choose their benefits.

Topics: Open Enrollment, Benefits Decision Support, employee benefits, benefits professionals, voluntary benefits


Written by Picwell