Benefitfocus adds AI capabilities to benefits platform

Cloud-based benefits management provider Benefitfocus added artificial intelligence capabilities and a new mobile application to its platform.

The expanded platform includes a new AI engine, called BenefitSAIGE, which supports AI technologies including rule-based systems, robotic process automation, machine learning, predictive analytics and natural language processing, the company said Tuesday.

BenefitSAIGE is meant to assist employees and employers with benefits enrollment and administration. The technology includes a 24-hour chatbot that employees can leverage to ask questions and get information about their benefits.

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“BenefitSAIGE is the connective tissue of our platform,” Jen Clark, director of artificial intelligence for Benefitfocus, says in a statement. “It powers how we exchange data, inform consumers, create engaging interactions for all platform users and unlock the power of the world’s largest benefits community with our insights.”

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The AI engine also aims to help brokers, carriers and employers engage with employees through data insights. The insights allow advisers to better segment their employer clients and their employee population, the company claims.

“Data accuracy is a critical part of our platform strategy as data drives the scale and connections of the ecosystem and increases the productivity of everyone on the platform,” Benefitfocus CEO and President Ray August says in a statement.

In addition to the new AI engine, Benefitfocus also introduced a new mobile app which includes total rewards details, digital ID cards and benefits management information. The mobile app incorporates a new tool called Benefitfocus Wallet that gives employees the ability to pay for their benefits using debit and credit cards outside of open enrollment. The tool also allows employees to view their financial benefits including flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts, the company says.

Benefit management platform providers are increasingly updating their tools to include new AI capabilities. For instance, Buck added a new AI-enabled platform that aggregates employers’ health, wealth management and career program benefits into one system for employees in November. Oracle also updated its HCM cloud with a voice-enabled AI HR concierge and digital assistants.

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Artificial intelligence can help take some of the day-to-day tasks off of HR professionals’ plates, experts say. AI chatbots, for example, can help answer brief benefits questions that would normally be directed to the HR team. Clark says technology like BenefitSAIGE can help employees get the answers they need, when they need them.

“The practical benefit to employers and consumers is being there, correctly, in the moment they need us to be,” Clark says. “And in doing so, we add value for every platform participant because we do the heavy lifting and handle all of the connections, so they don’t have to.”

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