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Helping employers make decisions in a crowded benefits landscape

Assessing vendors is daunting enough. But for many employers, limited data, contract variations and employee confusion add complexity.

5-minute read

Can you have too much of a good thing? One look at the oversaturated benefits landscape suggests so. The digital health boom has ushered in more than 11,000 solutions,1 many narrowly targeting chronic conditions, health needs or underserved populations. But what once seemed an efficient way for employers to reduce benefits gaps has become its own burden.

Nearly half of employers (43%) feel there are too many solutions on the market — a rise from 26% the year before.2 The daunting task of assessing vendors is further complicated by the lack of data many vendors offer around health outcomes and patient experience. Nearly one in five employers report concerns about unproven solutions.2 And more than half (51%) report that managing multiple solutions and vendor relationships isn’t easy.3

Simply paring back benefits isn’t the answer. Employee enthusiasm for targeted solutions remains high, and an optimized mix can be a potent way to move the needle on rising health care costs. But employers are re-examining the value and cost-savings that point solutions promise and determining if this approach delivers what their organizations need.

The next evolution

Swapping one stand-alone solution for another might add some benefits. But to drive dramatic improvements across the vendor lifecycle, employers should consider making a more significant shift toward a hub strategy. This approach leverages the clinical rigor, expertise and infrastructure of a health plan while retaining the flexibility of vendor solutions — helping to drive outcomes and savings for employers.

With Optum Hub, for instance, employers don’t have to worry about continuously scanning the fast-moving solutions landscape for new breakthroughs and standout solutions. They also don’t have to navigate the oversaturated market alone or spend time assessing various vendors. Instead, employers have access to a curated network of vendor solutions that have been evaluated — from data security to member experience. Employers also receive tailored guidance on which specific solutions would be most impactful for that particular population. That means employers can make data-driven decisions as they compose their benefit portfolios — in a fraction of the time they’d spend with a DIY approach.

Purchasing is also reimagined. Rather than administer and track individual contracts — each with their own reimbursement model and vulnerabilities to excess fees — employers using Optum Hub enjoy the streamlined contracting, competitive pricing, and single invoicing that comes from partnering with a large, leading health plan.

And with data from disparate vendors centralized, and continuously tracked and analyzed, employers benefit from ongoing, large-scale performance management while lessening the burden placed on benefits leaders.

Extended reach of the revolution

Replacing a patchwork approach to point solutions with a simplified, streamlined hub strategy can deliver dramatic upsides for employers, which extends to the employee experience. Consider the current reality for most workforces: Only 20% of employees feel very confident that they understand and know how to use their health benefits. And more than 50% feel their employers provide little to no care coordination support.3

A hub strategy can replace that fragmented, lackluster employee experience with something far more holistic, personalized and seamless. Guidance isn’t given with blinders on, as is so often the case for standalone solutions. That means employees won’t hit a dead end or reach a point of frustration that causes them to abandon their care intent. Instead, they have the tailored guidance and support to follow through on their benefits.

In this modern benefits moment — marked by too many options, murky outcomes and dizzying complexity — employers and employees agree that the current approach isn’t efficient or effective. A hub strategy offers something dramatically different: a streamlined, simplified, holistic approach to supplemental benefits that drives outcomes and savings. The time to make a move is now.

Learn more about Optum Hub and how it can help employers make faster, more well-informed benefits decisions.


  1. Business Group on Health. The voices of virtual health: From digitization to transformation. October 17, 2022.
  2. Business Group on Health. 2024 Large Employer Healthcare Strategy Survey. August 22, 2023.
  3. Employee Benefit News. The 2023 State of Healthcare Research Report. April 3, 2023.