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Customer success story: Infirmary Health and benefits guidance

When mandatory ACA reporting put a strain on Infirmary Health’s in-house system for annual and new hire enrollment, they turned to Alight for a modern benefits guidance solution. Read how a regulatory challenge blossomed into an opportunity that saved time and cut costs while streamlining enrollment for their employees.

Making the most out of a regulatory challenge

As the largest non-governmental, not-for-profit health care system in Alabama, Infirmary Health employs more than 5,000 team members. When reporting mandates for the ACA went into effect in 2015, Infirmary set out to replace an existing enrollment system that could not accommodate these requirements.
While some viewed this regulation as a setback, Infirmary focused on seizing an opportunity to maintain compliance while also achieving their long-term goal of increasing enrollment efficiency throughout their organization. They discovered Alight and the SmartBen® Platform through the recommendations of industry peers. After a successful demonstration of capabilities, Infirmary decided to partner with Alight on revamping their approach to annual enrollment.

Rethinking annual enrollment

The first step toward revamping the annual enrollment process for Infirmary Health involved moving all benefits data, processes and relevant terminology from the in-house management platform over to SmartBen. In a sense, Infirmary was starting from scratch, as the existing system could not support any of the ACA-mandated tracking related to 1095-C forms, elimination periods and other requirements.

Alight worked diligently to alleviate any apprehension of the change through weekly working sessions, both remote and in-person. “It was an intense–but great–project thanks to the customer service from Alight,” said Marsha Davis, Infirmary’s manager for Wellness & Benefit Compliance. “When I needed them to come here and talk me through terminology in a one-to-one setting, they didn’t hesitate.”

After successfully implementing SmartBen and conducting a pre-enrollment communications campaign to relay key messaging points to employees, Infirmary launched their first annual enrollment on the new platform. The impact was clear:

While it was a whole new ballgame for our employees, very rarely did we hear anyone say that it was hard to use or hard to enroll. Alight supported us throughout the enrollment period, and any issues were addressed immediately. We knew we had found a partner.

Marsha Davis
Infirmary’s manager for Wellness & Benefit Compliance

Expanding benefits guidance to new hire enrollment

Encouraged by the success of their annual enrollment, Infirmary turned its attention to new-hire services. While existing systems had at least offered nominal support for annual enrollment (until the ACA), new hires were still being processed strictly through paperwork. Furthermore, orientations for new hires had stretched to two full days—four hours of which were used to cover benefits and enrollment.

“We were the last presenter on the second day,” said Davis. “Trying to explain concepts and answer questions at that time was horrendous, and the whole paper-based process was just very time-consuming.”

Once again, Alight was ready with an answer in the form of personalized, one-to-one enrollment sessions with trained benefits counselors. Working closely with Infirmary’s HR team, Alight helped craft a script that covered each talking point with consistent messaging.

Meanwhile, the custom communications team at Alight helped Infirmary convert older, handmade documentation into a professional, seamless benefit guide for new hires.

“That alone saved so much time, and now our recruiters use it as a tool when they need to show prospects our benefits,” said Davis.

Results for Infirmary Health—reducing costs, saving time

After a 6-month trial of one-to-one enrollment sessions for new hires, Infirmary was ready to greenlight a full-time engagement with Alight. For Davis, the ongoing results and impact have been clear:

  • Reduced costs: By overhauling new hire orientation, Infirmary saves more than $92K each year on materials and labor costs.
  • Time saved: With a streamlined approach, Infirmary was able to reduce the benefits portion of new hire orientation by 75%—from four hours down to just one.

This is so much better for the employees—and for our staffing. We absolutely would not have the staff to devote to one-to-one enrollment for new hires. We feel the one-to-one approach is giving new hires the very best experience of understanding their benefits.

Marsha Davis
Infirmary’s manager for Wellness & Benefit Compliance

Alight Solutions acquired Hodges-Mace, LLC in August 2019.

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