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Using Predictive Analytics to Build Better Benefits Packages

Ross Simons

Ross Simons

Director of Inbound Marketing
predictive analytics build better benefits packages

When you assemble a benefits package, there are so many unknowns: Which plans will your employees choose? Which plans will see the most usage? What will your employees’ choices cost them and your organization? What are the implications of adjusting key plan features like deductibles and premiums? How will cost increases from carriers impact what we can offer our employees?

Historically, for many HR departments, the answer to all of these questions has been, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

But now, thanks to new predictive analytics tools available with Flimp’s PLANselect decision-support tool, the guessing game is over. Finally, some real data to work with when assembling benefits packages.

Data-Driven Insights for HR Teams

We’ve written extensively about how decision-support tools like PLANselect can help employees identify the best medical coverage for their situations, vastly simplifying open enrollment for employees who typically find the benefits-selection process intimidating.

We’ve also pointed out that decision-support tools can help boost enrollment in valuable plans that employees often shy away from simply because they’re unfamiliar, such as HDHPs and HSAs.

How does PLANselect accomplish all this (and in less than five minutes) for employees?

The PLANselect algorithms draw from a database of healthcare costs and claimants containing over 230 million data points.

Now, while your employees use PLANselect to make decisions for themselves and their families, your HR team can use the same treasure trove of information and powerful analytics tools to make decisions for your organization.

Four Crucial Benefits Questions Answered with Predictive Analytics

PLANselect’s predictive-analytics capabilities and enlightening visuals guide you through a four-step process designed to help you predict plan-selection outcomes and understand cost implications when modeling potential plan-design changes for eligible employees and dependents.

1. What Are the Best-Fit Plans for Each Employee Group?

PLANselect analyzes your company’s current plan offerings to identify the best-fit plans for employees, grouping employees into tiers (percentiles) based on predicted usage. This will give you a clear idea of which plans the tool will recommend and how frequently.

PLANselect identifies the most appropriate plan choice for each tier, generates an associated value score, and estimates total expenses.

Graphical representations of the results help you understand how each plan compares on a per-tier basis. 

Find best fit benefits plan for employees

2. How Many Employees May Enroll in Each Plan Option?

Companies offer decision-support tools like PLANselect to encourage their employees to make better-informed, more rational decisions regarding their medical coverage (which reduces spending for employees and employers).

So, the big question is, how many employees are in a position to make a switch? (In other words, is your decision-support tool doing its job?)

Building off the best-fit analysis from step one (above), PLANselect forecasts enrollment if every employee chooses the ideal plan. It then compares that projected best-fit enrollment to current enrollment. Quite often, the difference is unmissable.

Now this is more of a best scenario: not every employee will use PLANselect, nor will they all take its recommendations. But many will, and this can be helpful for predicting behavior of your users.

Forecast benefits enrollment decisions

3. How Much Do Employees and Your Company Stand to Save?

Once you’ve ascertained just how many employees might change to more valuable benefits packages, you’ll want to understand the shift’s financial implications. The next step in the predictive-analytics process answers this critical question.

Based on the estimated enrollment established above, PLANselect projects the impact of your proposed benefit plans on employee and company premiums, company HSA/FSA contributions, and your company’s total costs.

Steps two and three together — which tell you how many employees might change plans and the associated financial impact — are invaluable for understanding the implications of enrollment shifts and the ultimate drivers of your company’s benefit expenses.

4. What Happens If I Tweak My Plan Options? How Will It Impact Employee Decisions and My Healthcare Spending?

So far, the predictive-analytics process has revealed how a potential benefits package will impact your employees’ choices and your organization’s costs.

But, you don’t just want to compare one set of options to your current package. You want to explore all possibilities to discover the ideal benefits mix for your employee population and budget.

The final analytics tool in the PLANselect toolbox answers the question, “What if?” What if you boosted a deductible here? What if you altered the medical out-of-pocket maximum there? What if you increased employer-funded cost credits for your HDHP plan?

PLANselect’s what-if analysis lets you adjust key plan variables like these to learn how those changes would affect the tool’s recommendations and the corresponding financial implications. Doing so will help you zero in on the optimal scenario for your organization.

Run what-if analysis on employee benefits plans

Get An Early Start On Next Year’s Open Enrollment

As you close out your current open enrollment cycle, it’s the best time to take an eye towards next year. As you survey your employees about their benefits, and evaluate how their plan decisions are going to affect your spending, you will be able to leverage what-if analysis to understand how things could have been different. It can help you better anticipate the needs of your employee population while also helping your bottom line. Your analysis can help you establish plan goals and targets and help you get an early jump at getting the right plans in place to better meet your goals next year.  

The Answers You’ve Been Looking For

Thanks to PLANselect’s predictive capabilities and deep data analysis, HR teams no longer have to operate in the dark. Powerful forecasting and accurate what-if modeling remove the uncertainty from designing benefits packages.

See for yourself how predictive analytics can help your organization build the optimal benefits package. Click here to sign up for a guided demo of our decision-support solutions.

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