The Top Three Ways APIs are Radically Changing the Consumer Account Industry

Oct 16, 2023 | Posted by Elevate

Today’s consumer account administrators—health plans, financial institutions, TPAs, and benefit admins—are struggling to differentiate their HSA, FSA, and HRA solutions in a crowded market. The ones most likely to win industry share are those embracing tech innovations that remove friction for employer clients and their plan participants.

Amid this race, API-first solutions are emerging as an important component of the technology puzzle and are causing radical change across the industry.

API-First Advantages

Most consumer account administrators rely on a partner to provide the underlying technology platform that powers their account solutions. However, these platforms are typically built on decades-old technology and are unable to incorporate modern advancements into their aging systems.

Fast forward to today, and account administrators finally have access to API-first platforms designed to efficiently support and distinguish their solutions suites with advanced underlying technology.

At Elevate, our API-first approach provides partners three unique advantages:

  1. Differentiated frontend. Our comprehensive suite of APIs allows partners to pull data and functionality into their frontend experiences, so our partners truly own (and therefore can finally differentiate) the user experience. No more SSO to a 1990s partner site like in the past.
  2. Modernized and real-time data exchange. Data transfers can be embedded directly into our partners’ backend workflows, which eliminates file management efforts, errors, and timing delays.
  3. Seamless scaling capabilities. Our partners can onboard clients and their plan participants with automated and direct data flows, removing ticketing queues, implementation processes, and change fees. This also cuts setup time.
“We power the most integrated and automated consumer account solutions in the market. Our partners are calling our APIs to submit claims, request dependent cards, initiate contributions...millions of times a day!” – Brian Strom, CTO, Elevate

#1 - APIs for a Differentiated Frontend

Previously, account administrators had to construct their solutions using SSO callouts and links to external portals, resulting in a semi white-label user experience, often with a “powered by” label.

Mobile apps, in particular, are limited in branding capabilities, either offering participants very limited app functionality or requiring them to log in to third-party apps with no brand affiliation. This both confuses participants and dilutes the brand power by revealing a third-party technology behind the solution.

Elevate is different. Elevate's advanced, API-first approach removes this handicap by giving our partners the ability to embed participant data and account functionality directly into their existing solutions. This provides participants with real-time data and a consistent, partner-branded user experience. The result is a user experience that is truly, fully partner-owned and partner-branded, all in one integrated solution.

It’s a huge advantage when partners can configure their own user experience and own the branding, layout, and screens. Participants better understand their complete suite of benefits, are no longer frustrated with SSO calls or links out to other platforms, no longer experience vendor confusion from multiple third-party solutions, and fully associate their account benefits with their administrator.

Most significantly, account administrators that have built a recognizable and trusted brand can continue to leverage their brand power and user experience—screen flows, educational information, layouts, and style—throughout the entire solution, further distinguishing their solutions from competitors.

An API-first approach lets partners offer a unified platform and user experience, a major advantage over having to access disjointed systems through portals.

#2 - APIs for Modern, Real-Time Data Exchange

In addition to enabling one branded experience for consumers, Elevate’s comprehensive API functionality allows the seamless transfer of information from our partners’ systems to Elevate. This allows data to automatically flow between Elevate and partners, with no flat files, file processing, batch processing, or manual steps—saving both time and headcount while eliminating errors. More importantly, data is always in sync, accurate, and up-to-date.

Elevate’s modern technology platform is built to fully leverage API responses, which means every data interaction flows through APIs. This makes data transfers faster, more secure, and more accurate.

While some technology platforms offer a limited set of APIs, Elevate has the most comprehensive API functionality available on the market. All benefit plan configurations are fully built out as APIs in Elevate’s solution; for example, here are a few processes that can be accessed through Elevate’s APIs:

  • Client information - Create and update employer clients, contacts, and properties
  • Plan configuration - Create plans, plan year, and define payments
  • Member enrollment and setup - Create and fund member accounts
  • Card management - Order, replace, and update card status (especially helpful when a stolen card needs to be immediately updated!)
  • Claims management - Submit, process, and view claims
  • Member data - Find and update employee information, create a dependent
  • Reporting - View account balances, contributions, invoice reports, and more
Elevate’s platform recently received 15 million API requests in just one week.

#3 - APIs for Scalability

As account administrators bring on new clients, concerns over scalability and the ability to onboard, grow, and support added business can become a real concern. Elevate’s API structure eliminates these concerns with direct system access via APIs.

Gone are the onboarding pains of yesteryear—ticket queues, multi-month new client implementation processes, new client blackout dates, limited plan customizations, and change fees.

Our partners leverage APIs to onboard clients and their employees—directly from their own systems—with automated and direct data flows.

  • Plan setup and configuration
  • Account funding
  • Employee enrollment
  • Plan renewals

The result? Account administrators are able to redirect headcounts to more strategic projects, data processing errors are eliminated, extra costs are removed, and employer clients are delighted with faster service.

“Our partners were frustrated with the limitations, cost, and time it used to take to onboard new clients—and they often faced the risk of having to turn down client requests for new plans or plan changes. But now, our partners set up clients directly from their systems, cutting out all the extra steps and costs. It really opens a new world of capabilities when it comes to supporting client growth.” – Nicole Caralle, Director of Program Operations, Elevate

Why Others Can't Keep Up

So why isn’t every technology platform provider converting existing technology and supporting processes to a full API model? Why do some platforms include partial API functionality that doesn’t support all functions and processes?

Retrofitting a legacy system with today’s API first principles is not simple or pragmatic. To effectively have an API-first model, technology platforms must be built from the ground up with modern API standards seen across the marketplace. APIs cannot be easily added on top of an existing platform solution due to the complex nature of both APIs and the legacy platform structure. Full API solutions would take years of effort, and they would divert development teams and resources from other needed maintenance and upgrade projects.

“Adding APIs to a legacy system is like baking an 18-layer cake and then trying to change out the fourth layer of that cake. It just doesn’t work.” – Pete Mazur, Senior Manager of Software Development, Elevate

And while emerging platform providers may offer some API functionality, they fall far short of the exhaustive capabilities live and at scale with Elevate.

To further showcase just how far ahead Elevate's API functionality is compared to the industry—even Elevate’s advanced account administration functionality is also available through APIs, including AI-enabled functions. Many competing platforms do not offer automated or advanced functionality at all, let alone allow API access.

Finally, in addition to the comprehensive API functions built out and available in the market today, Elevate offers full configuration flexibility, meaning our API settings meet our partners’ requirements—not the other way around.

APIs and Beyond

APIs have not only changed the way we approach benefits management as an industry today, but an API-first model also allows platform providers to react quickly to tomorrow’s needs. Elevate stands at the forefront of this transformative technology with a true API-first approach, resulting in streamlined processes, enhanced efficiency, and reduced costs—delivering real impact to our partners.

Interested in learning more? Submit a request to view our API documentation.

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