Q&A with Ross Honig: Trends in the Benefits Space

Ross Honig is president of OCA, a national third-party administrator with deep experience in healthcare, employee benefits, financial services and software/technology. We recently sat down with Ross to discuss trends in the benefits space.

Can you talk to us about what you’re seeing when it comes to employee attraction and retention, specifically regarding lifestyle accounts?

The conversations surrounding lifestyle accounts are growing… and evolving! Employers all of sizes, from all industry types, are inquiring about different lifestyle programs. While the programs have varied from employer to employer, the reasoning as to “why” they’re offering these programs remains the same; great resignation, inflation, or now regulatory changes (i.e., the reversal of Roe v. Wade). Lifestyle accounts allow employers to not only offer flexible benefits but differentiated benefits that matter most to their unique workforce.

We know you’re bullish on ICHRA. Where do you see ICHRA from an adoption perspective in next 1-3 years?

Conceptually, ICHRAs [individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements] make too much sense not to become the new alternative to traditional employer-sponsored group coverage. The idea that an employer can control their medical benefit costs while allowing their employees to choose a plan that best fits their personal needs is what most employers are constantly searching for. ICHRAs can be the mechanism to achieving that goal.

However, determining whether an ICHRA makes sense will require the employer and their broker to fully examine the plan options available in both the group and individual markets. I believe we’ll see an increase in ICHRAs in states that have more favorable individual plans and rates, while the opposite will occur in states that have more favorable group plans. Overall, I continue to be very bullish on the “concept” of ICHRAs, but the jury is still out on how quickly they will be universally adopted.

In addition to ICHRA, what do you see as the top 2-3 trends in benefits space?

I think lifestyle accounts will continue to grow in popularity, especially as employers look to find new ways to retain and attract talented employees. Also, because of advancements in areas like AI and APIs, I think we’ll see an increase in benefit data capitalization. Being able to provide real-time, factual claims and spending insights can maximize their benefits in a way consumers never have before. It’s going to change the way healthcare spending decisions are made.

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