BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2017: The industry isn’t changing, and that’s a big deal

Earlier this month, SyncStream attended the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo, where benefits professionals discussed the state of the industry, the confusion surrounding health care, and the future of benefits technology. We didn’t hear about or see a lot of changes, but that’s actually a surprise in itself, considering the continuing push for health care reform. 

The lack of change was actually a good indicator that benefits providers should expect certain trends to continue, from opinions on health care compliance to the value of technology. Here’s what we took away from the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo.

The ACA is not going away

Despite continued dedication to health care reform on Capitol Hill, any practical repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has run into roadblocks. Because of this, benefits brokers seem to agree that the ACA—or at least its employer reporting requirements—won’t be going away as soon as we expected, if it’s going away at all.

This may not have been the consensus among benefits providers just a few months ago, but the recent developments have shifted the outlook. Republicans pulling the AHCA before a vote has prompted a lot of second guessing among brokers and employers, and greater care in continuing their compliance and data tracking efforts.

This point was driven home by the number of new ACA-specific solutions on the market.

Technology is here to stay

It seems like a no-brainer. Payroll technologies and intelligent compliance solutions make employers’ lives easier, so why wouldn’t they use them? Still, this year’s conference drove home the point that, while companies may have been reluctant to invest in them in the past, payroll technologies and other solutions are becoming more and more essential. Employers are recognizing that such programs make benefits and compliance work much simpler in the long run, and are moving to purchase.

This positive reaction has opened up the number of technologies and solutions available to employers—they can pick and choose what works for them, based on the quality of the products, number of benefits provided, and the intelligence of the data and information management. Many companies already have payroll providers, but are still looking for ways to fill in different gaps in their benefits needs, particularly when it comes to newer forms of compliance.

Working together is better

In combination, these two trends point toward investment in health care-related intelligent solutions as a wise move for benefits providers. The draw of technology is enticing those who deal with benefits and compliance within their companies, and with so many options, the more benefits your system offers, the better.

But health care compliance is complicated, and while it’s bound to stick around for a while longer, we don’t know what form it’ll take. Because of this, partnering with a provider like SyncStream—which can focus on handling changing health care compliance needs—can give your benefits package a leg up against the competition, without wasting time and resources on trying to keep up with the complexity of health care by yourself. Third party administrators, HRIS systems, or anyone else who handles data, can rely on SyncStream to handle the hard stuff, while getting the boost of offering a service that employers desperately need now more than ever, with the winding path of health care reform.

Overall, the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo helped to reinforce the trends that SyncStream has always promoted: the staying power of the ACA, and the necessity of technology to handle complicated compliance issues. The lack of new information was, in many ways, more telling than if something had drastically changed—and emphasized that SyncStream continues to be on the right track!