Benefitfocus expands benefits offering with caregiver platform

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Benefitfocus, a cloud-based benefits management platform, has added Cariloop to its benefits package, providing employees with backup child and adult care.

The benefit is part of the company’s initiative to support employees outside of work, as caregiving can often be an isolating experience that impacts a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their ability to do their job. Caregiving responsibilities now impact 34.2 million Americans, according to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

Misty Guinn, director of benefits and wellness at Benefitfocus, says those numbers suggest that there is a “caregiving epidemic” in the U.S. workforce, and employers are uniquely positioned to help by implementing specialized benefits.

“When curating benefits we ask: What do our employees need? What’s causing them stress?” asks Guinn. “It’s so important to give employees the decision support tools that they need.”

The majority of employers are behind the curve in recognizing the need for employer-provided backup child, adult and senior care options. Only 4% of employers offer backup child care services and only 2% offer backup elder care support, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Cariloop pairs employees and their families with a care coach who supports them through the caregiving journey. As part of the member experience, each employee and their family is able to collaborate with their care coach using Cariloop’s cloud-based application to promote secure communication among family members and safe storage and accessibility of important medical, financial and legal files.

The coaches can walk employees through a variety of challenges or questions they face when taking care of a loved one, including finding and researching doctors, lawyers, and care providers, understanding how to pay for a loved one’s care, or filling out important legal documents.

The Cariloop benefit was first added to the Benefitfocus catalog for its employer customers in August. But Guinn realized this was an unmet need within the Benefitfocus employee population of about 1,600 individuals, so it became part of the company’s benefit offerings this year.

“These employees are working two full-time jobs,” Guinn says. “One full-time job with the employer, but then outside they have another full-time job. A lot of surveys show that many people will leave their current employment to care for someone.”

Though just newly launched, Guinn says Benefitfocus employees are already taking full advantage of the Cariloop program, with positive results. Many of the employees Guinn spoke to mentioned being unsure where to turn for information regarding their specific caretaker needs, but the Cariloop coaches help alleviate that stress.

“Caregiving for a loved one can be one of the most emotionally draining and financially straining experiences that any of us ever goes through,” Michael Walsh, Cariloop CEO said in a statement. “No one should ever have to go through these life transitions alone.”

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