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Fridays (with Benefits) - 4/12/19 - When great companies unite for a greater good

Living Well

When people talk about "big box stores" or "mega-corporations" the conversation usually isn't held in a positive light. So whenever we hear about them using their size and clout to promote positive change -- for customers and employees -- we take notice.

This week's headline focuses on how several of the nation's largest companies, including names like Apple, Google, Walmart, Goodyear and Target, came together to help pilot cutting-edge benefits solutions, implementing these ideas separately, then reconvening to share some results.

A few years ago, if you told me Apple and Google were going to combine forces for ANY reason, I probably would have laughed… more than once. But now, with the future of employee benefits on the line, it doesn't seem so funny.

How 60 of the nation's biggest employers are uniting to fight the benefits status quo - Kathryn Mayer, Employee Benefit News

This unexpected collaboration all started the same way as so many other disruptive ideas -- by frustration and necessity. New health-tech startups were beginning to pop up, looking to redefine employee benefits solutions, but no one was testing them at scale. So several of these companies' HR leaders decided to join forces.

Together, these benefits leaders united to try these startups, pilot some of the programs and then discuss what worked and what didn't.

That was in 2014. Today, this collection of heavy HR hitters are known as the Employer Health Innovation Roundtable, now comprised of nearly 60 of the country's biggest employers, representing roughly 8 million employees.

What started as a twice-yearly roundtable seeking solutions to workplace health issues like addiction, mental wellness and child care, among others, is now a large consortium of businesses seeking to reclaim control over a flawed health care system

The short-term goal? Obviously, putting an end to unaffordable health care costs. But there's also a focus on shining light on innovative tech startups that propose significant improvements to the ways companies and employees manage health, from data-driven personal insights to wellness tracking and much more.

If the startups prove successful, the potential for partnership with U.S. industry leaders is plenty of motivation to keep innovating and improving benefits options. Companies have better health offerings. Workers are healthier and happier. New businesses get exposure in the world's biggest arena. Wins all around.

The article goes into great detail to explain the programs in play, the companies that are driving this change, and the longer-term goals of the roundtable. It's a worthy read for anyone looking into the decisions that mold their own health care … not to mention for anyone who enjoys a peek "behind the curtain" of the nation's largest companies.

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Fridays (with Benefits) is a weekly roundup of the latest headlines about employee benefits -- from FSAs to fitness programs and everything workplace wellness. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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