Benefits Administration Poised for a Good Year: Part 2
Earlier this week, I highlighted revenue growth reported by benefits administration service providers. In addition to the positive earnings reported, there are other signs indicating that 2012 will be good to benefits administration including acquisitions, hiring, and surveys.
There have been a few strategic acquisitions that will boost benefits administration revenues for vendors this year. For example, ADP’s benefits administration business will see a nice increase from SHPS, which had annualized revenues of ~$80m. Morneau Shepell’s acquisition of SBC Systems Company will modestly increase its revenues, and more importantly will strengthen the company’s presence in the U.S. Finally and most recently announced is Towers Watson’s acquisition of Extend Health, which will enhance its benefits administration offering by adding exchange services for retirees.
Another positive sign of expected future growth is the hiring of personnel. Towers Watson announced that it will be hiring employees within all of its segments. The benefits segment, specifically, will get an additional 172 employees, 60 of which will be for technology & administration solutions (TAS).
Finally, regardless of the constitutionality of the PPACA, benefits administration will likely flourish as compliance becomes increasingly complex as new regulations are issued or as older ones are amended for other federal laws such as COBRA, HIPAA, FMLA, etc.
A recent study by ADP cites that health care reform and compliance complexity are expected to lead to more benefits administration outsourcing. The survey, which included input from 504 HR and benefits decision makers in the U.S., found that ensuring compliance is one of the top reasons cited for outsourcing benefits administration.
In a recent article, Mercer is also advising employers to act to ensure compliance and to implement cost-control strategies now regardless of health care reform. It recommends the following, which are all dollar signs for benefits administration service providers:
- Managing the cost of dependent coverage, which will strengthen demand for dependent eligibility audits and verifications
- Shifting to CDHPs, which will lead to an increase for reimbursement account administration services including FSAs, HSAs, and HRAs
- Offering cost-competitive health coverage, which will boost demand for private health care exchanges for both active and retired employees
- Encouraging a healthier workforce, which will lead to the implementation of wellness programs (i.e., health assessments, biometric screenings, etc.).
Benefits administration is one of the oldest foundations of HR business process outsourcing and it is also one of the largest segments in revenues and yet it remains vital, adaptive, competitive, and ready for continued growth!
Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall
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Tags: ADP, biometric screenings, CDHP, compliance, Dependent eligibility audits, Dependent verifications, Extend Health, FSA, health assessments, Health exchange, Health insurance exchange, HRA, HSA, Mercer, Morneau Shepell, PPACA, Reimbursement account administration, SBC Systems Company, SHPS, Towers Watson, wellness programsYou can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.