Learning from the Past: Employee Benefits and What Comes Next

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Many people have heard the quote attributed to George Santayana that states “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But, when it comes to employee benefits, a more appropriate sentiment might come from the historian Alexis de Tocqueville that “history is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.”

The history of employee benefits informs our future. It tells us that changes in how employees and their families receive health insurance is often born of necessity. Significant shifts in the economy, turmoil, war, regulations and consumer preferences have impacted the relationship between employers, employees and health in profound ways. (Read more about this history: How Did Employers Ever Enter the Health Insurance Game?Recent history has something to teach us, too. Changes and market forces have left employers and their employees with a stark reality of hassle, high costs, uncertainty, and dissatisfaction. Consider these recent significant changes: 

Health care under the microscope:

  • Rising costs of health care
  • Rising scrutiny on the quality of care, providers, doctors and the overall experience
  • More demand for transparency in healthcare billing and administration

A higher bar for consumer experiences and control:

  • Reduction in paper or in-person administrative tasks, including those in the plan enrollment process
  • Increase in decision-making tools for products and services from entertainment to relationships to insurance
  • Advancements in technology that empower service providers with information to help people faster and with more accuracy

These two categories of changes are of course intertwined with the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Change – very recent, significant change – is here.

Even with these tremendous shifts, the status quo remains for many employers. Each renewal, they see options presented for small, incremental changes. These “copies of the past” continue to shape traditional group benefits plans, but they don’t address the underlying hassle, cost and waste. The result has been the continuation of a system that leads to notoriously poor satisfaction – high costs for poor experience – for employers and employees alike. 

What’s happening now for more and more employers is something original. It’s moving into an approach to “better benefits for all”. That’s what we’ve built at Gravie: A reinvention of how employee benefits work, making the whole system easier and more affordable. 

If you’re interested in what’s different about the Gravie approach, download our ebook below or contact us today.