by Nori Gale
In the world of benefits administration, COVID-19 has created a flurry of activity for us and our partners. It has also provided us with opportunities to help those we represent derive the most impact from benefits management.
On May 12, 2020, WEX welcomed partners, consultants, and employer clients of our Health division to WEX Momentum, an inaugural series of complimentary virtual learning and networking events. The focus for the first Momentum event was benefits administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a keen eye to the current challenges caused by the crisis, and opportunities on the horizon as the nation moves toward recovery.
Melissa Smith, chair and CEO of WEX, opened the event by emphasizing how important the work of benefits administrators is presently: “We’ve never been more focused here at WEX than we are at the moment on our health and benefits area of the business. We are hearing from employers that they really want to make sure they have products for their employees that can help ease the burden as they go through this very difficult period of time, so our compelling solutions are really important right now.”
WEX’s Robert Deshaies, president, Health, followed Smith to help introduce the thinking behind the creation of Momentum: “I am proud of the work we do together and the benefits we help employers, employees, and consumers realize. We are simplifying for and empowering our industry as we recover as a nation and prepare for a new normal.”
Health division executive vice president of services and operations, Chris Byrd, spoke about policy decisions pertaining to COVID-19 and how all of these decisions directly address the financial health of benefits administrators’ clients. And Jeff Bakke, executive vice president of strategy, Health, addressed the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created as well as the opportunities that lie ahead for the employee benefits industry, touching on the new benefits that stem from more people moving to a work-from-home model, and the expected increase in consumer-driven health plans.
One special guest was Jean Chatzky, an American journalist, a personal finance columnist, financial editor of NBC’s Today show, AARP’s personal finance ambassador, and the founder and CEO of the multimedia company HerMoney. She spoke about HSA plans and her personal commitment through her partnership with WEX to increasing the focus nationwide on how HSAs can help individuals and families financially.
Panel Discussion: Disruption in a Time of COVID
Additionally, through the lens of COVID-19, WEX partners and consultants shared their insights about handling disruption and key lessons learned from facing disruptive innovation and personal disruption via a panel discussion moderated by Whitney Johnson, CEO of WLJ Advisors. These leading partners included:
- Colin McLain, Vice President, Holmes Murphy & Associates
- Matt Poppe, Vice President, 24HourFlex
- Nate Black, Associate Vice President, Voya Financial
What WEX Provides to the Benefits Administration Community
During this inaugural Momentum event, WEX discussed:
- WEX’s Investment in Partner Excellence:
- Creation of SpeedLift, WEX’s rapid-response solutions designed to help its partners counter the challenges and hardships created by COVID-19
- Timely legislative updates
- Real-time best practices and action items
- WEX’s Investment in Partner Growth: Amidst the challenges partners are facing, there are also opportunities. WEX policy and product experts discussed how the flexibility and innovation of WEX solutions provide partners growth possibilities in
- COBRA and direct billing
- HSAs (health savings accounts)
- ICHRAs (individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement)
- and more
- WEX’s Investment in Technology: WEX continues investing in technology to create exceptional employer and consumer experiences. WEX is keenly focused on the features and functionality that simplify the business of healthcare and helping employers respond quickly with flexible benefits solutions for their employees.
4 Key Takeaways for Benefits Professionals
Benefits professionals can further explore key topics with these breakout sessions:
- HSA Industry Trends: Spend It? Save It? Invest It?
- Spending Accounts and COBRA in the Post-COVID-19 Era
- Managing the Increase in Participants and Activity with COBRA & Direct Bill Members
- The “New” Individual Health Insurance Account Benefit
Video presentations on these key topics covered at Momentum can be viewed on WEX’s Momentum site. Scroll down to “Session Library.”
What’s Next for Momentum
Momentum will continue to bring industry leaders, partners, and WEX experts and executives together through the remainder of 2020 to continue the conversation and build on our community of benefits administrators and consultants. In upcoming Momentum events, WEX will feature its 2020 SPARK award-winning partners, new platform capabilities, and results of its latest research and analytics into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding employee benefit plans. To learn more, visit www.wexmomentum.com.
Mark your calendars. Registration will be available soon for these upcoming Momentum events:
- Tuesday, June 2: partner awards
- Tuesday, June 23: product capabilities
Click here to watch a recording of the live May 12 Momentum event.
For more information about WEX and our Health and Benefits products and services, click here.