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You know the pop psychology theory that naming your biggest fears will help you overcome them? The idea is that by simply acknowledging the fears, challenges, or obstacles in your way, you’re better able to find your way around them. So that’s what we’re doing today at Artemis - we’re helping benefits administrators name their biggest challenges. We’ve spoken to many of you over the years, and we hear about all the pain points, big or small, in your profession. Names have been redacted to protect your identities, but here’s what you cite as your biggest challenges:
“I struggle to understand what’s actually happening with the population I manage. Whether it’s financial, utilization of benefits, health outcomes - I need a 360° view of my benefit program, but it’s tough to get.”
“There’s just one of me for 17,000 employees - ok, three of us on the benefits team. But it’s overwhelming to deal with so many covered lives, especially during Open Enrollment. I think we answered 1000 phone calls a week this year! I can’t really be cutting-edge when our team is so lean.”
“Lowering costs is the big one for me. It seems like no matter what I do, costs go up 5, 6, 7 percent a year. And I have to get them down without sacrificing care or pushing costs to members. I’m just not sure how to make it happen.”
“Getting answers quickly. It can take me weeks of back-and-forth, spreadsheets, and analysis before I know what’s going on and how to act on the information. Why is it so slow? This wouldn’t happen on the finance side.”
“I have to attract and retain talented employees, plus engage them in their health. But in the end, there’s not really much difference between what I’m offering for benefits and what any other large employer is offering. Our benefits program is already very expensive to the company. How can I differentiate?”
“I need to find a way to show the value in what I do. It’s hard for the C-level to understand why we make program changes and what we’re accomplishing, because all they see is rising cost year after year. I ask myself, ‘How can I show this is valuable?’ and I don’t have an answer.”
“We don’t have access to our own data, and we can’t pull any reports or pull that data to make strategic decisions. I’d love for my team to pull these reports together. And we can do it in-house, but we don’t have the access.”
“I know everyone says this, but my population is different. We’re not like everyone else, and we need customized benefits packages, data tools, and plans. I gotta be able to customize everything we do.”
“I guess we’re not very data-driven, and a struggle with understanding member behavior. Like, we’re 33% out of network with behavioral health utilization, and I’m still trying to get a handle on why. I think I have my ear to the ground, then something like this still surprises me.”
“Making a change around here is like turning the Titanic. We’re slow to adapt and it seems like everyone else is miles ahead of us on wellness programs, engaging in health advocacy, tech tool, the whole lot. How is everyone else I meet at these industry conferences able to make organizational changes so quickly?”
“We’re in 13 different states, so keeping up with local laws and following shifting health policy is a struggle. I love the day-to-day of my job, but I’m not really a policy wonk. I subscribe to some industry newsletters and blogs to try to keep up.”
Do you see yourself in any of these challenges? Have you found creative ways to work around them, through them, and leave them behind you?