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The Changing Face of Employee and Health Benefits: a Chat with Steve Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer at Alegeus

In the midst of the changing role of the typical HR in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have had to redefine several processes including their hiring, onboarding, employee benefits and care packages to keep up with the changing workplace culture and evolving employee needs. How can companies ensure a more wholesome employee benefits and health care initiative during this time to support teams through the crisis…Steve Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer at Alegeus shares his thoughts.

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Could you tell us about your recent launch – the Smart Account Platform? Given the effects and impacts of the ongoing Covid-19, are there any other product innovations, or launches planned in the near future to help alleviate new challenges tied to employee health care.

Smart Account is a holistic health/wealth experience that is transforming how consumers manage their healthcare. Through personalized, data-driven insight, Smart Account helps guide consumers to the right coverage, care and savings strategies. For example, users are prompted to take action such as “you may have paid too much for this service.” The Find Care feature connects users to high-quality, low-cost, in-network care, and a virtual medicine cabinet provides recommendations for saving on monthly drug costs. Already our users are seeing significant savings, such as $262/year on prescription costs alone.

In terms of what’s on the horizon, we’re working on two new product integrations that will give employers more flexibility with benefit offerings during these challenging economic times and help consumers better afford any unexpected medical costs.

The Covid-19 lockdown led to a fair share of medical issues for the whole work from home population, especially issues related to stress, anxiety, mental health. And now with businesses reopening and resuming work-from-office models, new employee health safety models need to be put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic; we’d love your thoughts on how you see this impact the immediate future of employee benefits and health care. What, according to you, should organizations be focusing on more to support their workforce during this time, with regards to their health?

 Maintaining a happy, healthy and financially stable employee base is not only a moral imperative, but also good for business. The most important thing employers can do right now is show compassion. This starts with keeping an open line of communication so they have direct feedback on how to best support employees through this time.

This support can include: offering additional financial support, introducing digital tools that help employees manage their health/wealth lives, keeping 401(k) contribution matches, providing mental health resources, encouraging self-care through paid time off, and introducing child and dependent care benefits. If employers are forced to let employees go, they can advise on next steps, such as how to elect COBRA insurance and apply for unemployment assistance.

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Any cautionary tips, things for teams to keep in mind while they are still putting in place stronger work norms and employee best practices and new benefits norms due to the changing demands at the workplace today?

Employers with multi-generational workforces must consider the specific financial, health and work/life balance challenges that each age group faces when building or reevaluating their benefits packages. For example, COVID-19 has forced many working parents to juggle what can feel like two full-time jobs, while city-dwelling millennial employees might be dealing with mental health complications and feelings of isolation. A holistic benefits strategy partners clear, concise communication with technology to meet individuals where they are and deliver the resources they need to feel informed and cared for.

A few comments on what a mid-sized to large organization should offer in terms of their overall benefits and health care package, given the current challenges and needs of working families.

It has never been more important for employers to offer a comprehensive health and benefits package that gives employees the opportunity to save and pay for their long-term healthcare. A health savings account (HSA) paired with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is one of the best plan options for building up long-term savings. In fact, enrollment data from Alegeus has shown that 70% of consumers will save more money with an HSA-eligible HDHP than with a traditional PPO plan. On the employer side, HSA-eligible HDHPs can help save money on the cost of premiums – an especially appealing option during an economic downturn.

The right plan design also includes next-generation technology. Convenient, data-driven tools like Smart Account encourage engagement with benefit accounts and lead to smarter health and wealth decisions.

Finally, leadership and HR teams should take the time to rethink their offerings that touch upon company culture, such as work-from-home policies, flexible hours, dedicated manager check-ins and more. We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past few months that can and should influence the way we work going forward.

Alegeus logo

Supporting more than 40% of the market, Alegeus is the leader in consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) solutions and enables more than 225,000 employers and 30 million Americans to get the most value from every healthcare dollar. Alegeus recently launched their Smart Account platform which combines all aspects of the benefits lifecycle into a single, intuitive solution, enabling consumers to make smarter benefit decisions at every stage.

Steve Auerbach is the Chief Executive Officer at Alegeus and a member of its Board of Directors. With a singular focus on making customers successful, Steve brings more than 25 years of industry experience and has a proven track record of driving organizational growth by offering differentiated value, providing excellent customer service, and creating outstanding consumer experiences. Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of Hartford.