THE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS CONNECTION
Giving employees, employers, and brokers the power
to demystify and deliver health and wellness benefits using AI
“Nearly 60% of employees
delay or avoid treatment because
they’re not sure if they’re covered,
making benefits anything but.”
Co-founder and CEO
By Lori Widmer
To Guy Benjamin, health and wellness benefits should not be a mystery to those who use them. Yet, for the U.S. transplant, his observation of the confusion surrounding the benefits arena became the genesis of a company that bridges the benefits gap for employees.
Benjamin, co-founder and CEO of Healthee, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that speeds delivery of healthcare benefits information, saw the disconnect between employees and their benefits when he started working in the United States after his Israeli Air Force career. From his first day at work in U.S. corporate culture, he realized that the only people in a company who understood their health and wellness benefits were the people in charge of administering them, and even they were sometimes confused.
“Healthcare is confusing,” says Benjamin. “It’s filled with jargon and complexities that are intimidating and overwhelming for the very people it’s meant to help. What will my out-of-pocket cost be? When will I meet my deductible?”
This confusion, he says, has resulted in people not using the full scope of their benefits. He calls that “extremely problematic. Nearly 60% of employees delay or avoid treatment because they’re not sure if they’re covered, making benefits anything but.”
Information, he says, was still being passed along to the employee via call centers and phone calls. That’s when Benjamin realized that bringing technology into the benefits process could remove the confusion and streamline the process.
Building in clarity
Launched in 2021 as Insurights and rebranded recently as Healthee, the company was founded on that very mission—to make health benefits simple to use and understand and accessible. The company’s product, Zoe—an AI-powered virtual healthcare assistant—came from a thorough examination of the health insurance journey for employees and their employers.
“When we set out to create a solution for a more accessible, transparent health insurance experience, we spent a considerable amount of time gaining deep insight into the pain points facing our customers: mainly, the complicated and time-consuming way employees navigate and interact with their health insurance,” Benjamin says.
“We used this information to create a product that provides a comfortable, easy-to-use platform that shows employees what they’re covered for, book appointments directly in-app and even connect with on-demand virtual care,” he adds.
That platform, Zoe, allows for easier benefits navigation and administration. Administrators and users can get real-time answers to coverage and treatment options as well as personalized coverage advice and preventative care suggestions.
What users can expect: Benjamin says implementation of the Zoe platform is also designed to be easy and efficient, much like the platform itself. Clients work with a designated customer success manager, he says, to incorporate business goals and personalized criteria. “We ensure customers have a smooth launch by handling document analysis, system set-up, testing, and creating marketing materials.”
The end result: real-time data, including healthcare costs, trends, and appointment booking; preventative care recommendations; open enrollment support for HR and employees; and AI-powered responses to questions and information requests. Zoe is accessible via an easy-to-use mobile app.
“Healthee takes the confusion out of healthcare, transforming the benefits experience for every employee touchpoint,” says Benjamin. Delivering personalized, on-demand access to the entire healthcare lifecycle, Healthee can increase benefits utilization and improve care outcomes, he says.
What users say
“I’ve been at Holmes Murphy for 28 years and learned about benefits I did not know we had!” says Ellen Willadsen, chief innovation officer for the Iowa-based independent insurance brokerage. “The service is incredibly valuable to employees and employers alike.”
Holmes Murphy was in the market for something that could solve three main pain points that employees often have: what benefits were available to them, which health plan was best for them, and how to locate a provider and obtain care that was affordable.
Healthee’s Zoe virtual personal assistant was what attracted the company, Willadsen says. First learning about Healthee through BrokerTech Ventures and InsurTech Israel, Willadsen says that Healthee’s presentation stood out among the many the company had heard. “We became very impressed with Healthee’s team and vision.”
Willadsen also was quite impressed by the implementation process. “As far as the onboarding experience, Healthee has a strong customer support team and has made the discovery and onboarding process extremely efficient,” she says. “On top of this, they are great about taking feedback. In fact, Healthee continues to grow their solution based on the feedback they implement.”
And feedback, she says, is part of what makes the platform work so well for Holmes Murphy. “A lesson we learned is the more we share with Healthee, the better the outcome.”
Not only does the company use Healthee, but they also offer the service to clients. In fact, Willadsen says that Holmes Murphy started a pilot program in 2022 that included some of their sales team members “to help them better understand the capabilities.”
That understanding can then be imparted to clients. “We’ve seen it time and time again,” says Willadsen. “Employers are struggling to engage their employees with all the benefits they offer.” Implementing a tool like Healthee, she says, improves that engagement and increases benefits participation and use.
Going forward, Willadsen says the company is planning to deploy Healthee’s Zoe for their employee population in their own open enrollment period, along with an educational session for the entire sales team. “We believe this tool will help fulfill a communication need we hear about often from our employees and clients,” she says.
It can also help brokers help their clients. “At Holmes Murphy, we strive to save our benefits’ clients time, money, and lives, and this offering fits directly with that goal,” Willadsen says. “In a tight job market where employers are competing for talent, benefits are sometimes the make-or-break part of the decision. Ensuring employees or prospective employees are aware of all of the benefits available is essential.”
The best approach to implementing Healthee, in Willadsen’s opinion, is to “provide the Healthee team with your entire benefit package to allow them to do their magic.” And she suggests employers and brokers get behind the platform. “As with any technology, the more it is promoted and used, the better the outcome.
“Brokers and agents can help by introducing Healthee and letting the tool take the guesswork out of how to shine a light on benefits,” she says.
In today’s rapidly changing healthcare arena with consumers demanding more transparency and accessibility, innovation of how healthcare information is delivered is key, says Benjamin. “Consumers are no longer content with a passive approach to their healthcare; they want to be actively involved in the decision-making, understand the choices available, and have easy access to details like out-of-pocket expenses and network providers.”
Healthee, Benjamin says, is answering that need. “We’re not just looking at solving one piece of the healthcare benefits puzzle, we’re putting together the whole thing.” The age of the on-demand healthcare experience has arrived, he says. With the ability to manage their care and appointment scheduling and have a clear window into the costs of that care, Benjamin says Healthee’s Zoe “puts its users in the driver seat of their own healthcare journey.”
Lori Widmer is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor who specializes in insurance and risk management.
BrokerTech Spotlight offers a look at insurtech offerings from startups that have partnered with BrokerTech Ventures (BTV), a convening platform for brokers, carriers and wholesalers, and tech firms, and includes insight from other BTV member owners.