With Affordable Care Act regulations taking root, health care benefits software firm bswift’s torrid growth in the past four years was rewarded with $51 million in private equity from Boston-based Great Hill Partners.
Chicago-based bswift, which has posted annual growth of 40 percent over the past four years, according to the company, provides technology that navigates public and private health care exchanges and handles traditional benefits administration. The funding announcement was made in early April.
“We’re seeing more and more employers seeking solutions to help them ensure compliance and move ownership of employee benefits to be more employee-centric,” said bswift CEO Rich Gallun.
Among bswift’s employee-centric tools to shop for health care benefits is Ask Emma, which helps employees make more informed and personalized benefit decisions by guiding them through the process based on their answers to questions.
“Another important trend is an increased focus on optimizing the user experience for multiple browsers and mobile devices,” Gallun said.
Indeed, the world of benefits shopping, enrollment and administration has become increasingly complex, he said, with recent legal and regulatory changes, such as health care reform and a shift to consumerism.
Jason Averbook, chief business innovation officer at Appirio Inc., an information technology consulting company headquartered in San Francisco, said the increasingly complex health care benefit market driven by the affordable Care Act gives companies like bswift an opportunity to expand.
“Affordable Care has provided lots of different options,” Averbook said, “so others can just click and spot all the benefits, take a look into all the different options, understand what makes sense for you.”
“People are used to consumerism,” Averbook said. “For example, if you think about how do I buy things and why, on Amazon, employers have to provide that kind of great experience to their employees, so they need technology to do it.”
Numerous business opportunities are coming along with the fast-changing health care benefit software industry. The health care market is becoming more complex and different than ever because of higher cost of benefits, more frequent job-switching rates and more diversified distribution.
There are going to be more companies like bswift and better technologies like what bswift provides to deal with the shifting health care benefits, according to Averbook.
“I would recommend understanding what technology like bswift does and quickly develop their strategies, ” Averbook said. “Because if you don’t, you are going to find yourself scrambling in the years to come.”