The benefits professional of the future: 3 ways AI could change the way your team works Skip to content

The benefits professional of the future: 3 ways AI could change the way your team works

5 min read

Picture of a young, professional man working on a computer using two monitors. He's integrating AI into benefits applications.

Across all industries and job roles, artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping working life. In the employee benefits space, leaders are excited but cautious—a 2024 survey from HealthEquity revealed that while nearly three-quarters of benefits professionals feel AI will have a positive impact, many questions remain.

One prominent concern is how AI will alter the roles of benefits teams. Some benefits leaders feel anxiety over job security, while others are uncertain how AI can support a role where trust and human touch can be so vital to success.

The implementation of AI in benefits administration is still in its early stages, but we have some insights on how these concerns may be addressed. The benefits professional of the future is unlikely to be replaced by AI, but will instead be supported by tools that streamline technical aspects of the job and provide insights into overall benefits performance. AI tools will give teams more time to focus on what they do best: plan high-level strategy and provide human-led quality employee experiences.

Explore ways AI may impact benefits professionals’ work

To give you a glimpse into this future, we’ll cover three ways AI is likely to change the way benefits professionals do business. These opportunities, as well as other topics related to AI in benefits administration, were recently covered by HealthEquity experts in a webinar with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM): Turn Caution to Confidence: Real-World Examples to Help You Embrace the Future of AI.

Check out the blog, take a listen to the webinar, and then review even more research insights on AI in benefits administration.

1. Claims could be processed instantly

One of the most labor-intensive aspects of benefits administration is claims processing. Employees filing a claim under their Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA), or other benefit must often fill out forms detailing their expense. Claims are reviewed before a final decision is made, and employees may need to be contacted if information is missing or incorrect. When claims are denied, benefits professionals are also frequently contacted to provide more context. It can take days between an employee filing a claim and receiving their reimbursement.

It’s unsurprising, then, that streamlining claims processing and reimbursement is one of the top opportunities benefits leaders see for AI.

With a well-chosen AI tool, benefits professionals could free up much of the time they spend helping employees navigate claims processing. Employees could take a photograph of their receipt and upload it to their benefits platform, while AI auto-fills claims data, alerts employees to any errors or missing information, and delivers a real-time claim approval.

That’s a better experience for employees and frees up time spent on any confusion or delay that crops up in claims processing.

2. Employee experience could be improved with AI-powered self-service

Another frequent use of time—and occasional source of friction—for benefits professionals is handling simple employee service questions.

Although a recent survey revealed that 81% of consumers would like more self-service options, many are not satisfied with existing options. In employee benefits, that can result in many conversations between employees and benefits team members over technical or task-related queries that could potentially have been solved with better technical support.

AI is a promising solution for this mismatch between preference and reality. The right AI tool can be accessed across several channels according to employee choice, and can answer basic and sometimes even complex service queries. Employees will be able to gather information, ask questions, and resolve issues on their own time without needing to appeal to a live benefits team member.

A good AI tool can even reveal trends in employee queries, helping benefits team members spot issues at the macro level and focus more of their time on addressing them.

3. Analysis of benefits performance could be easier and more insightful

Benefits professionals are most impactful when they’re engaging with high-level strategy, analyzing the results of specific benefits, and planning new campaigns to drive better health or financial outcomes.

With the right AI tool, benefits professionals will be able to access deeper insights on performance with less time and effort. AI can analyze plan performance for the organization on a macro level, as well zooming in to examine performance across specific employee demographics or zooming out to compare the organization’s performance to industry peers. This makes it easier to spot performance gaps or inequities, identify employee preferences, and model out how certain changes could impact the organization. Plus, better insights from AI may help benefits professionals design benefits packages to improve retention and morale.

For example, a benefits team focused on helping employees save enough money to cover a medical emergency could utilize AI to identify the average account balance of employees and average contribution activity during the plan year—both on an organizational level and across different employee population segments. The tool could potentially predict changes to these metrics based on updates made to the plan, such as implementing a seed or match, and it could track changes over time as benefits teams launch new initiatives.

Integration with generative AI, which can produce written or image-based content, could help teams implement these changes. Providing initial drafts of email campaigns that draw from storylines identified in employee data would save time and help develop storylines that resonate with employees.

What will benefits professionals spend their time on?

AI is poised to save benefits teams times by handling easily automated tasks and generating valuable data-based insights. That gives the benefits professional of the future significantly more bandwidth to focus on the areas of the job that require human touch, empathy, and ingenuity.

Benefits professionals will focus on weighing strategic factors outside of data, such as organizational goals, employee morale, and ethical considerations, that allow them to make nuanced decisions about programs and preferences. They will also be called on to provide personalized support in sensitive situations that can’t be solved with self-service.

While AI will augment and support benefits management processes, benefits professionals themselves will use their unique expertise and judgment to run successful programs that drive positive outcomes and foster valuable employee experience.

Preparing to implement AI at your organization

Benefits teams should start preparing now to successfully integrate AI into their operations.

You can start by analyzing the current state of your program and identifying the high-level goals you’ll want to attain with AI engagement.

  • Look for any gaps or inefficiencies in your processes that AI seems poised to solve.
  • Seek out further training on AI in benefits administration through professional organizations or peer networking, and start vetting partners with reliable reputations.
  • Consider appointing an AI committee with designated subject matter experts who commit to learning about AI and championing its implementation among the team. These individuals could focus on training others and ensuring AI use matches existing organizational goals and standards.

With diligence and a strategic mindset, your team will be prepared to use AI well—to support processes like the ones outlined here, while allowing benefits professionals to focus on the aspects of their job that deliver the best results for the employees they serve.

Subscribe to Remark blog today to continue receiving the latest updates on AI, as well as further insights in building successful benefits programs.

HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax or financial advice.

Thank you for subscribing!

Thank you for subscribing!

Are you a business?

Talk to us today to get started.

Talk to us

Are you an individual?

Start building health savings today.

Open account

COBRA/Direct Bill Employer login

Please refer to your Client Welcome email for the URL of your specific COBRA/Direct Bill Employer login page.