Posted tagged ‘Extend Health’

Highlights and Trends in the HRO Market for H1 2013: Part 2

August 14, 2013
Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Last week, I zeroed in on specific market activity within the payroll, learning and RPO service lines. This week, I’ll take a closer look at H1 2013 activity within benefits administration and MPHRO as well as provide some insights on what to expect in H2 2013 based on NelsonHall’s recent HRO Confidence Index.

Benefits Administration

Contract signings aside, there has been a plethora of activity within benefits administration in H1 2013, including:

  • New offerings:
    • Mercer launched a private benefits exchange, Mercer Marketplace
    • Buck Consultants launched an automatic enrollment offering in the U.K.
    • Secova launched a Coordination of Benefits (COB) audit offering to coordinate benefits with insurance carriers
  • Acquisitions: Wageworks acquired Crosby Benefit Systems and Benefit Concepts to strengthen its H&W administration offering, including reimbursement account and COBRA administration
  • Partnerships:
    • Fidelity partnered with Extend Health, a Towers Watson company, to provide retiree healthcare services
    • JLT Employee Benefits partnered with Vielife for health and wellbeing services in the U.K.
  • New technologies:
    • Xerox launched an account-based benefits portal, BenefitWallet, to assist with managing multiple health accounts on one platform, including HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, HIAs (health/wellness incentive accounts) and other specialized services
    • Aon Hewitt launched an absence management tool, 360 Absence Solutions, to help clients manage absence-related costs, compliance risks, the administrative burden and lost productivity
  • Educational resources:
    • Mercer and ADP both launched websites to provide information on healthcare reform
    • Ceridian launched an auto-enrollment knowledge center in the U.K.

MPHRO

In recent years, the MPHRO market has been relatively quiet in terms of contract announcements and H1 2013 was no exception. However, my last MPHRO research study, published in February 2013, revealed that the market is very much alive with new wins and contract renewals from all the major vendors, including IBM and Accenture. In fact, IBM recently won a new seven-year, multi-country MPHRO contract, which was bundled with F&A outsourcing services. Other wins include ADP and Marriott Vacations Worldwide for core HR, payroll, time & labor management and talent management covering ~9.2k employees.

Many vendors have been focused on their strategies for expansion, including Aon Hewitt with its acquisition of OmniPoint Workday Services. Although still early, NelsonHall expects ADP to make inroads in LATAM with its MPHRO services since it added RPO capabilities in this region from its acquisition of The RightThing and now expands its payroll footprint from the Payroll S.A. acquisition.

H2 2013

So what does the rest of the year have in store? NelsonHall’s recent HRO Confidence Index survey finds that overall expectations for HRO revenue growth remain at the same level as those reported for the last five quarters; with payroll leading followed by RPO. Top industry sectors for HRO services include healthcare, pharmaceuticals and high-tech. By geography, vendors have reported increased confidence for revenue growth in Central and Eastern Europe and Central and Latin America.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds for HRO.

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HRO Benefit Providers Go Exchange Wild

March 7, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Activity is picking up again in readiness for the fall benefits enrollment season with HR benefits service providers adding various types of new health insurance exchanges (HIEs).

New HIE Entrants

Towers Watson has just launched its HIE platform, OneExchange, for employees, pre-65, and Medicare retirees. It builds on Towers Watson’s 2012 acquisition of Extend Health and offers employers both private and public exchange-based health insurance options for full and part-time employees and retirees.

Features include:

  • Support from initial financial analysis for employers, to plan comparison, purchase and enrollment, and post-enrollment support and advocacy for individuals
  • ExtendRetiree: Medicare-eligible retiree assistance to identify and select supplement health plans from the myriad of available products
  • BenefitView: real-time dashboard for employers.

Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company, launched a private HIE, RightOpt, for employers with more than 3,000 employees. The exchange will offer:

  • Both a self-funded and fully-insured model
  • Personalization based on a family’s health, adversity to risk, and preferences
  • Member education, decision-support tools, and health engagement resources.

RightOpt will complement Buck’s retiree HIE, My Medicare Advocate, and will be available for Fall 2013 enrollment.

RightOpt intends to differentiate from other private HIEs by allowing employers to use a national network of providers so employees can access the more deeply-discounted networks of providers by metropolitan area; a model that was historically too administratively complex for many employers.

New HIE Alliances

Fidelity Investments announced a strategic alliance with Extend Health, a Towers Watson Company, to provide HIE services to retiring employees to identify and select Medicare and private health care options through Extend Health.

Fidelity is also expanding its own capabilities to incorporate retiree health care into retirement planning including retiree medical account support services to plan sponsors. Examples include:

  • Recordkeeping and reimbursement services
  • Retiree workshops and meetings
  • Strategic communications expertise.

New HIE Exchanges

Those already in the market, including Aon Hewitt and Mercer, are not sitting still.  Mercer has added Mercer Marketplace, for employers with more than 100 employees, to expand its suite of private HIEs. The exchange utilizes a cloud-based technology platform with call center services and online decision support during enrollment.

Affordable Care Act Will Drive Growth and New Services

Once the final ACA regulations kick-in, there will be even more complexity for both employers and employees. Benefits providers like Towers Watson are already preparing more services to roll out including:

  • Connecting workforce segments such as pre-65 retirees, part-time, contract, and seasonal workers to plans offered on public exchanges
  • Providing financial analysis, modeling tools, and consulting to help employers decide whether to use private or public exchange solutions
  • Enabling employers to transition active employees to exchanges offering individual health plans or group-based plans.

HIEs provide many positive benefits:

  • Employers gain help in controlling cost and caring for employee health care needs
  • Employees gain access to wider choices at group discounted rates as well as advanced decisions support tools
  • Benefits providers can use existing outsourcing capabilities, as well as leverage consulting services and allied services such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the new public exchanges.

No wonder benefits provider have gone HIE wild!

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A Closer Look at Benefits Administration in H1 2012: Part 1

August 21, 2012

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Earlier this year, I wrote a two part blog about how the benefits administration market was poised for a good year. Part 1 highlighted Q1 earnings results and part 2 focused on other signs indicating success such as acquisitions, hiring, and surveys.

Halfway through the year, signs are still indicating that 2012 will be a solid year for many benefits administration service providers.

 Aon Hewitt: For Q2, its Outsourcing segment reported organic revenue growth for the third consecutive quarter. In fact, the 6% reported was the company’s highest organic revenue growth rate for Outsourcing in several years. While Outsourcing revenues consist of more than just benefits administration, much of its growth was for benefits-related point services such as dependent eligibility audits. Its active employee exchange is set to be launched in Q4, which will begin to realize revenues in 2013.

Towers Watson: Towers Watson’s Benefits segment has been consist with positive organic revenue growth beyond the last four quarters. It’s Technology and Administrative Solutions segment revenues grew mid-single digits for the period ending June 30th and its pipeline is very healthy. The company’s Exchange Solutions segment, which was created after the acquisition of Extend Health, has had strong sales with a record number of participants enrolling, exceeding the 30% previously forecasted.

Mercer: Organic revenues for Mercer’s Outsourcing segment had another positive quarter, but were lower than reported in Q1. The suite of health care exchanges it launched earlier this year, which includes a retiree medical exchange, is expected to have ~500,000 employees enrolled across all three exchanges in 2013. 

Morneau Shepell: Canadian-headquartered Morneau Shepell has reported double-digit revenue growth for the last four consecutive quarters. In Q2, its pension and benefits outsourcing segment, which makes up ~25% of its revenues, had the largest contribution along with its health management business. Its growth is from new client wins, and its acquisition of SBC Systems has led to new business in the U.S.

According to the NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Market Forecast: 2012 – 2016, the projected growth rate for the benefits administration service line is modest compared to areas still experiencing rapid growth like RPO. Since benefits administration is the largest revenue generator in HRO, even moderate single-digit growth will add billions more to its total.

Later this week, look for more benefits administration mid-year updates from TRO and H&W service providers in Part 2.

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Opportunities Expand for HRO: Health Care Exchanges

April 3, 2012

Private health care exchanges are a hot topic, and the number of HRO service providers with such an offering is expanding. In addition to current providers including Aon Hewitt, Extend Health, and Xerox/ACS, Mercer announced a suite of health care exchange offerings last week.

It’s no surprise that health care exchanges are increasingly popular since the benefits extend to both employers and employees. While employers reduce liability and administration while accessing better plans or prices, employees obtain access to competitive pricing, employer subsidies, and assistance with selecting the plan best-suited for their needs.

Here is a brief synopsis of the existing health care exchanges in the market.

Retiree exchanges: These exchanges typically help retirees select a Medicare plan and/or supplemental insurance products based on their medical needs and budget. Service provider offerings typically include:

  • Call center services to assist retirees in selecting a plan including assessing needs, evaluating options, and enrollment into a plan
  • An online portal for shopping plans
  • Written materials / communications such as booklets, letters (e.g., appointment, confirmation of coverage, and annual enrollment letters), appointment reminders, etc.

Retiree exchanges were the first type of exchange to appear in the market, and as a result, there are a few service providers with such offerings available. Extend Health has its ExtendRetiree exchange. Aon Hewitt added its retiree health care exchange in March 2010 when it acquired Senior Educators, Ltd. In 2011, the exchange was renamed “Aon Hewitt Navigators.” Xerox/ACS launched its retiree exchange, “My Medicare Advocate,” in October 2010.

Among the exchanges it announced last week, Mercer launched its Retiree Medical Exchange. Its exchange leverages any employer subsidies available for coverage by converting current and future retirees to a DC model where they purchase individual coverage most-suited for them.

Active employee exchanges: While the retiree exchanges are focused on individual coverage, the exchanges for active employees are focused on group plans.

Aon Hewitt’s offering, for example, provides employees with a credit to purchase health coverage that can be accessed through its private exchange. Once employees log-on to the exchange, they will select health care coverage from group options that are standard levels of coverage with varying levels of reimbursement.

The Mercer Benefits Choice Exchange (MBCE) allows employers with 100 – 1,000 employees to contribute a set amount to a HRA. Employees then use decision-support tools to select coverage and enroll online.

Mercer’s other offering, Mercer Health Advantage (MHA), allows self-funded employers with >3,000 employees to enroll employees in new medical plans beginning January 1, 2013 that will save the employer 5% or more. Employers will also get access to dedicated MHA clinical care management with ongoing oversight and audit capabilities.

Benefits administration is a major and mature HRO service line. Health care exchanges present a welcome new growth opportunity for HRO and more options for employers and active and retired employees. Expect more benefits service providers to add to the available service offerings.

Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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