October 21, 2021

A new world of benefits: How network infrastructure is solving the data gap

Consumers expect their benefits to be as accessible and easy-to-use as all of the other digital services they rely on each day. Meeting this demand is a rapidly growing ecosystem of new technologies, tackling every inch of the health insurance and employee benefits space. As more and more players emerge (check out our industry map here), the ability to put the right data in the right place at the right time becomes is critical. However, this is a huge challenge for our industry, especially for tech-forward companies who want to build new experiences but face the pain of complex, disjointed systems.

Noyo is the network infrastructure that makes it possible for every stakeholder in the benefits ecosystem to seamlessly exchange data. To us, network infrastructure means providing both the connectivity and the building blocks to engineer modern, dynamic experiences. That requires solving the data gap between insurance carriers and the digital platforms that administer benefits. When benefits and insurance data can move more freely, entirely new possibilities emerge.

To explore this further, we dove into the technology trends that are shaping the consumer side of the market with Eddie Choi, Noyo’s Head of Solutions. Eddie is an industry veteran with broad experience at leading ben-admin platforms.

His view is that we are in the midst of a transformative cycle, just like we were in the early millennium. “If you aren’t looking around the corner, then you’ll be on the outside looking in,” he says.

Eddie, when you look at the infrastructure and core systems that power benefits administration today, what’s changing?

Being in benefits technology for so long, I was so used to seeing the same thing for decades. However, I’m really excited with what’s out there today—API app integrations, AI tools, and software that interacts with native features of mobile devices. Software built 20 years ago wasn’t designed with the level of sophistication inherent in software that we use today. You really can’t easily bolt APIs or AI modules onto existing legacy software. Innovation is challenging for legacy systems, and I don’t know if I see them reinventing themselves.

Network infrastructure is a new category of technology in our space. How do you see its role in enabling the transition from EDI and legacy tech to modern standards? 

Today, the market is demanding a level of data interaction that did not exist for most benefits platforms designed decades ago. When I think of network infrastructure, I think of the problem that needs to be solved: the industry needs consistent, standardized ways to exchange data that are positioned for the future. Noyo is building a single source for that connectivity so its available to anyone in the marketplace to be creative and build on top of.

This is well-positioned and timely because the demand is now, and the transition is happening. It’s simply not feasible for a lot of companies to build and maintain complex API integrations one at a time with each vendor or partner. It might take 3-4 months for a single integration with a vendor, and meanwhile, there are dozens if not hundreds more to go. Do most of these companies realistically want to invest in the resources to scale these projects? The answer is probably no.

How is this dynamic playing out among newer entrants with fewer barriers to adopt new technologies?

The fastest growing benefits software companies are those that are delivering well-designed products that truly prioritize the user experience. They aren't just ready for a modern tech stack, they require it. Their challenge is that not all carriers are there yet with API connectivity. People building benefits software need a scalable solution that gets them the data they need from any carrier that's important to their customers. And most of these companies want to dedicate the bulk of resources to their core product, not integrations that customers will never see. 

That's why they partner with Noyo. They get modern APIs and the infrastructure they need to build amazing, differentiated products. A single integration unlocks large blocks of the market and keeps them moving faster than their larger competitors.

Another note: this approach isn’t unique to the benefits space. If you look at digital payments and other financial services and how they’ve adapted so quickly; they’ve rightfully relied on API integration layers to enable a lot of the exciting apps consumers use every day like Venmo, PayPal, your commission-free brokerage app of choice, and many more.

From your view, what should every benefits platform be thinking about right now?

Well one of the things I know they’re thinking is where will they be in the short and long term. In my career and history in benefits, technology has played such a vital role. Platforms that trail behind have not aged well and struggle to stay competitive in the market.

Today, we have benefits platforms that are doing okay, but where are they going to be in 5 to 10 years, and who is going to disrupt their markets? I do think we’ll have an answer to this in the next few years.

One last thing I would say: I’ve been in the ben-admin industry for 18 years, so I’ve seen a lot of what’s been built over the last two decades. Just in the past year alone, I have been truly amazed at what is beginning to hit the market. Change is happening, and it’s really exciting to be a part of the journey. 

Learn how you can partner with Noyo to streamline carrier connections and deliver the modern, dynamic experiences customers expect. Get started here.

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