Benefits technology platform Benefitfocus has launched a customer-facing website that allows individuals to compare products and services.
President and CEO Ray August said that when he came to the company in 2014, he sought to transition Benefitfocus from a software company to a platform company, eventually allowing consumers to directly control their benefits instead of requiring people to get benefits through their employer.
“One of the analogies I use internally is we want to be Peloton and not Gold’s Gym,” August said. “Gold’s Gym is now bankrupt and Peloton’s internet-connected workout device is now skyrocketing.”
August initially envisioned that it would take three to five years before the country was ready for consumers to directly control their benefits, but when the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and forced millions out of work, the company accelerated the launch of its consumer product, called Benefitplace.
“It was kind of simmering in the pot and it was going to be a rainy day … project, and now it’s like the project,” August said.
Through Benefitplace, customers are able to access health plans; supplemental benefits such as dental, vision and accident coverage; and employment resources. The website allows people to make changes and select new benefits as their needs change, and they are able to keep their individual plans regardless of employment status.
“All these people that are unemployed, whether they’re on our platform or not, they need help in understanding what benefits they can purchase, for medical, for life insurance,” August said. “You still have to protect your family whether you’re employed or unemployed.”
Benefitfocus is launching state-specific websites for Benefitplace, such as ForYouSC.com for Palmetto State residents. This week, the company launched a North Dakota website, and August said he’s had conversations with several other states as well.
All of the profits that Benefitfocus makes on Benefitplace during the COVID-19 pandemic are being donated back to the states to help them fight the coronavirus.
Benefitfocus is based on Daniel Island and has offices in Greenville, Tulsa, Okla., and Brookfield, Wis.