APIs: What’s the Hype?

HR Tech Tips

Things are changing so fast in the world of HR technology, it’s hard to keep up. Notably, data integrations are leading the charge. Technology providers and insurance carriers alike are touting a better way to exchange data than the traditional, HIPAA 834 file (or EDIs). The term “API” clogs their blog posts and sales collateral, but is the hype real? What is an API?

What is an API?

Without getting too technical, an API (or application programming interface), is a software tool that allows different platforms to “talk” to each other in real-time. If data is not being exchanged in real-time, then it is likely not a true API. There are different types of APIs – believe it or not, API technology has been around for 15+ years, but in the world of benefits administration specifically, it is still relatively immature.

Below are a few of the different APIs that benefits technology platforms and insurance carriers are rushing to develop and utilize:

  1. Enrollment API – Gone are those pesky EDI file feeds (we hope). New hire benefit elections, open enrollment changes, and mid-year updates will flow instantly between a benefits administration system and the insurance carrier. Yes please!
  2. Evidence of Insurability (EOI) API – Voluntary life and disability plans may require an EOI form to be completed for the carrier to approve different kinds of enrollment requests. This API will streamline the process.
  3. Health Provider API – Need to know if your doctor is in-network? A provider API would allow employees to access the look-up process directly in the benefits platform.

You must look past the sales and marketing flyers and have real, detailed conversations about a technology provider’s API capabilities to ensure the right expectations from the beginning. Interested in learning more? Reach out to Henderson Brothers today!


Please note that the information contained in this posting is designed to provide general awareness in regard to the subject matter covered. It is not provided as legal, medical, or tax advice, nor is it intended to address all concerns in your workplace or for public health. No representation is made as to the sufficiency for your specific company’s needs. This post should be reviewed by your legal counsel or tax consultant before use.