Computer coding By assessingemployee health care data, AI driven platforms can recalibrate themenu of offered packages to reflect predictive usage. (Image:Shutterstock)

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Head People Officer, Chief Happiness Officer, Chief HumanCapital Officer… these are all creative titles for one of the mostimportant positions in corporate life: the HR manager. Theproliferation and creativity of these positions signifies the keyresponsibilities of the role: the care and management of acompany's employees, its most important asset.

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In addition to making sure that employees feel recognized andappreciated, it's the HR manager's responsibility to ensure thatworkplace benefits speak to employee needs. After all, workplacehealth benefits are widely considered one of the most importantemployee motivators. Knowing that, therefore, the burden ofdetermining the right selection of benefits can be especiallyonerous. But help is on the way. Tools that use artificialintelligence (AI) can provide real relief to HR managers–andemployees–with predictive intelligence to determine the rightpackage of benefits to meet key criteria.

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Here are three ways AI can actually help:

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1. Plan selection for employees

Benefits selection has become complex and choosing a healthcoverage plan can be overwhelming. Employees need to weigh howtheir lifestyles and specific requirements translate into actualofferings. But because it's often hard to anticipate healthproblems, not to mention discern the differences between plans,many people wind up with plans that are not ideally suited to themor to their families.

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Related: Lack of benefits understanding brings low morale,high turnover

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AI can help. By describing your lifestyle, income status, risktolerance and recurring medical expenses, those criteria arecross-referenced against historical outcomes providing employeeswith a pool of optimal plans.

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2. Predictive care

What if it were possible to use “precognition” to detect crimesbefore they happen — remember the film “Minority Report?” Byaccumulating a large mass of claims data and understandingpopulation-level health dynamics over time, we can use what isessentially “precognition” to identify future clusters ofparticular diseases.

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This futuristic capability will help insurance carriers createbetter plans to suit their customers. But the data should not onlybe in the hands of the providers. Having predictive health data atemployees' fingertips will allow them to make smarter decisionsbased on health conditions you may be predisposed to and possiblyopting out of the cheapest, baseline plan. The buyer should makethese decisions based on his or her own risk factors.

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3. Plan selection for employers

One reason the job of HR manager is particularly stressful isthat the health of company employees — and in turn their families —rests on their shoulders. Employees must trust their HR person toselect and offer the right basket of health benefits to protectthem.

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All of the disclaimers in the world don't alleviate the enormousstress that goes with the risk of making the wrong decision.Technology should ease this process. By assessing employee healthcare data, AI driven platforms can recalibrate the menu of offeredpackages to reflect predictive usage. Think of it as Netflix, whichuses its troves of viewing data to commission and recommend theright shows for subscribers.

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Uniformity of plans

This, ironically, is hard to predict, but one interestingconsequence of AI-driven health benefits may be the commoditizationof plans overall.

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As AI gives carriers greater insight into which productsemployees are choosing and using, each will begin to want what theother has, Carriers could begin to match each other, lining upbehind the most successful packages.

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We could see more plans offered more often—or a standardizationof this burgeoning array of plans into a single wrapper plan whichaccommodates all those nuances.

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The future outlook

Generally speaking, we all struggle with making complex benefitsdecisions. But, just as we entrust doctors who have a long-termunderstanding of our medical history, allowing artificialintelligence to crunch employee-level and large-scale data pointscan lead to a vastly improved consensus of what constitutes thebest coverage plan.

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This won't happen over night, but if companies plannedaccordingly and were open to feedback to support these changes, wecan usher in a more effective, less stressful coverage regime forboth employees and their HR managers.

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Rachel Lyubovitzky is the CEO andco-founder of EverythingBenefits.


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