Winston Benefits, ConnectYourCare partner on health benefits

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Third party benefit administrator Winston Benefits announced a partnership with ConnectYourCare to expand healthcare offerings for employers.

Through the tax-advantaged account provider, Winston Benefit’s clients will now have access to HSAs, FSAs, HRAs and COBRA administration benefits, the companies said in a statement Thursday. Winston Benefits serves more than 1.2 million plan participants at more than 80 clients, including The Children’s Place, Montefiore and QuickCheck.

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Nicole Williams, senior vice president of broker partnerships at ConnectYourCare, says “employers are looking for an easy way to oversee their account-based plans and COBRA administration.”

Employers are increasingly offering tax advantage accounts like HSAs and FSAs. For example, between 2014 and 2018 the number of employers offering HSAs to their workers jumped 11 percentage points to 56%, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Research firm Devenir projects the number of HSAs will hit 30 million by 2020, with $75 billion in total assets and $16.7 billion in investment assets.Meanwhile, HSA providers including Bank of America and WageWorks are beefing up their offerings.

In an opinion piece published in Employee Benefit Adviser, Matt Marek, CEO and president of Further, a health spending and savings account administrator, says if brokers are serious about reducing healthcare costs they should change their thinking about HSAs.

“Until we stop viewing HSAs through a banking lens and start focusing on the majority of consumers who are looking for the resources to help them best spend their health savings accounts, we’ll continue to lag behind in meeting their needs and miss a tremendous opportunity to disrupt the healthcare market,” he writes.

See also: What brokers can do to turn the table on HSAs

COBRA administration can also be difficult for employers because the rules around compliance are often changing, says ConnectYourCare’s CEO, Steve Grieco. “Not understanding the proper procedures, regulatory parameters and design options can have a negative impact on benefits professionals and organizations, often resulting in hefty fines,” Grieco says in a statement.

Curry Bradley, chief marketing officer and principal at Winston Benefits, says he hopes ConnectYourCare will help to improve the benefits enrollment experience for clients. He says the partnership will help to “streamline” the administration of both tax advantaged accounts and COBRA.

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