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As we begin a new year, we continue to tackle an ever-changing benefits landscape, while long-standing challenges remain. The list of priorities for employers continues to grow, while the infrastructure to support those priorities shrinks. Newer challenges like high-cost pharmaceuticals, women’s health benefits, and return to office strategies demand time and resources. Employers seek fresh, modern solutions to combat age-old problems, including access to affordable mental healthcare, well-being programs with high engagement, and benefit outcomes that support both the workforce and business outcomes. In an effort to support our membership, IBI surveys our 1,600+ members for their highest priorities for the coming year in order to inform our research agenda.

Topics for 2024 include:

Health and Well-Being Products and Programs

As employee engagement continues to decline, and the number of point solutions continues to grow, employers need a clear line of sight to best practices in this space. We will investigate the winning strategies for continued employee engagement, organizational support, and health outcomes, while also focusing on ROI/VOI and business goals. In addition, we will look at the landscape of start-ups in this space.

Mental Well-Being

Mental health continues to be one of the top research topics for the third year in a row. This year, we will be focused on solutions that go beyond employee assistance programs (EAPs) – including emotional well-being solutions focused on mindfulness, resiliency, loneliness and belonging. We will look at new and emerging solutions, including any evidence supporting their effectiveness and safety.

Pharmacy Benefit Challenges

As precision medicine becomes more and more mainstream, the need for reliable advice and information for employers becomes increasingly apparent. This research will focus on best practices around high-cost drugs, including biosimilars, GLP-1 medications, cancer gene therapies, and specialty drug programs. We will also include productivity opportunities identified through the IBI Medication Adherence Calculator.

Designing Benefits Programs for the Future

As we move toward a world in which “customization is king,” employers are considering how to offer a curated set of benefits to employees, while maintaining cost controls and equity among employees. We will focus on new options for women’s and men’s health (including treatment for menopause, infertility), and investigate considerations for using a generational strategy in benefit planning and point solution selection. Finally, we will address how AI and other digital solutions may assist these efforts.

Program Management & Point Solution Management

This year we will focus on best practices for demonstrating program value and health outcomes related to business goals or KPI’s, including recommendations for data procurement and measurement. Additionally, we will look at common definitions of “engagement” – how much interaction with a program is necessary to achieve the expected results? And what criteria should be fulfilled in order to get employees engaged to the extent that they receive the benefits of the program? Lastly, what barriers to engagement are created internally that might be reduced or eliminated?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Considerations for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or simply “belonging,” have come to the forefront in the last several years. IBI members are interested in investigating this issue from the employer perspective, as there are concerns about DEI now being less of a priority than in recent years. Are there financial considerations or lack of resources that is moving DEI down as a priority? Have DEI solutions become embedded in the company culture and become ‘table stakes'? In addition, we will look at the social determinants of health and the historical persistent barriers to equity within and outside of employment.

Thank you for your support of IBI. We look forward to providing valuable resources throughout the year.

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