Lifestyle Plans: The business case for lifestyle accounts

Dec 11, 2023 | Posted by Elevate

Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) are a popular trend in today’s employee-centered workplace, and they still have significant growth potential. In a recent Mercer study, less than 10% of employers who responded said they offer LSAs today, but 70% are considering adding an LSA to their benefits package.

LSAs are all about putting the power of choice in the hands of employees. Employers have the flexibility to set eligibility rules, while employees have the freedom to decide how they want to spend their benefits. This level of customization not only makes sure employees receive benefits tailored to their specific needs, but it also helps them spend the way they want.

However, for account administrators like TPAs, benefit administrators, health plans, and financial institutions, these accounts are complex to set up and costly to manage. Administration becomes further complicated as employers request more and more customized settings.

This doesn’t mean employers (or administrators) should stay away. They’re popular for a reason...and Elevate can make LSAs work for you.

The real appeal of lifestyle accounts

LSAs appear under several different names, like lifestyle accounts or life benefits, but they’re all designed for employers to help employees pay for health and wellness expenses, including other costs that aren't typically covered under a group health plan.

Employers who offer LSAs choose which types of expenses get reimbursed and the funding amounts. Examples of expense types include adoption and fertility, pet care, family care, student loan assistance, learning & development, and fitness and wellness, among many others.

In a recent Nationwide study, one-third of pet owners said they would be more likely to stay at an employer that offered pet benefits, with Gen Z respondents at 49% and millennials at 45%.

The popularity is two-fold: employers appreciate the control over how benefit dollars are spent, and employees value benefits that directly apply to their lives. And, let’s face it, the appeal of “free money” is quite the employment perk!

Building business with LSAs

Lifestyle accounts don’t only satisfy the demands of employers and employees, but they also can help account administrators stand out in a competitive market.

  • Grow your offerings without growing costs. LSAs typically are very labor-intensive to administer, with human hours devoted to plan setup and claims processing. But with flexible and automated technology, LSAs become a way to enhance the benefits packages for your clients without straining the admin budget, making LSAs even more attractive.
  • Differentiate company and values. LSAs allow your clients to stand out and align tangible benefits with their company's values. By supporting employees' growth through activities that resonate with their employer brand, your clients can demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being. Similarly, by offering LSAs, account administrators are able to demonstrate support of your clients’ unique values simply by having this product in your solution portfolio.  LSAs help companies by making them an appealing choice for both current and prospective employees.
  • Increase client satisfaction. LSAs provide a variety of options that can align with each company’s culture. With LSAs, employers have the freedom to choose meaningful benefits that meet their population’s needs. This results in increased employee satisfaction, which translates to increased client satisfaction and loyalty.
72% of U.S. workers say employee benefits have at least a moderate impact on their decision to stay with their current company in The Hartford’s Future of Benefits Study.

Elevate simplifies LSA administration

Creating and managing LSAs can be complex, but Elevate makes the entire process easier. We provide a standardized yet flexible framework for designing and managing LSAs, which simplifies the entire process of creating and administering LSAs that are customized to clients’ specific needs.

The simplification starts with Elevate’s plan design templates that cover a range of benefit options and provide a foundation for building a comprehensive benefits package tailored to specific client needs.

Beginning client setups with a plan template not only saves time but also eliminates costly errors and rework–automatically making sure administrators don't overlook important details during complex setups.

While templates provide a starting point, Elevate also allows for complete customization at the employer level. Account administrators can easily modify these templates to align with their clients' specific plan design requirements—no custom development needed. This flexibility makes sure that LSAs are quickly and easily tailored to the needs of each client.

How many plan designs are available?

All of them! As many as you want—account administrators have the ability to create any plan design with Elevate.

Check out the benefits of Elevate’s plan templates.

Elevate's template system doesn't stop at efficiency and simplicity. As industry trends change and new benefits emerge, Elevate continually updates templates to incorporate the latest offerings.

And branding, too!

Plus, with our APIs and branding solutions, it can all be in your branding. With our APIs, there’s just one site and one company for your clients and their employees to work with–yours. This way, account administrators can achieve greater efficiency and consistency in managing LSAs.

Not ready for full APIs yet? No problem, we also offer branded portals and apps that also reflect your brand.

By offering flexible benefits that are easy to set up, aligning with employer values, and making financial sense, LSAs truly meet industry needs. Start today and see the positive impact on your business.

See more. Watch how Elevate’s templates are simplifying plan design.

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