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Is 2021 the Year You Fire Your Employee Benefits Broker?

Let’s face it: businesses are navigating a recession and a pandemic, and every dollar counts.

While many companies stick with their employee benefits broker for years on end, not giving too much thought to whether a change is warranted, there are some definite signs it’s time to find a new employee benefits broker.

Here are some of the big ones.

Your Costs Are Going Up, Not Down

Since ~30% of healthcare dollars are considered waste and commercial insurers are accumulating record profits, your benefits broker should be creating strategies and solutions to measurably reduce your total spend — not just “mitigate” annual increases. 

Your Broker Shows You The Same Spreadsheet Every 12 Months

For companies with over 100 employees, there are infinite ways to build employer-sponsored health plans. If your broker shows up with quotes from the same carriers every 12 months, you are missing out on an entire world of opportunity. While building high-performance health plans requires an elevated level of expertise from your benefits broker, it is well worth your time to seek out firms who provide objective expert advice and raise the expectations of their clients.

Your Broker Suggests You Switch To A High-Deductible Plan

This is the equivalent of waiving a white flag and shouting “I Give Up!”. Don’t just dump more expenses onto your employees because that’s what some of your peers have done. Isn’t the goal of your program to attract and retain talent? Aren’t your employees your greatest asset? If your broker knows how to effectively manage risk, there is no need to burden employees with more expenses.

Your Broker Shows You Benchmarks At Renewal

While benchmarking can be helpful, too often, benchmarks are used to prime clients and lower expectations around their health plan’s performance. Unless you’re coming off a really bad claim year, don’t let your broker convince you that a 5% increase is “good”. Again, with the right strategy in place, your costs should be going down — not up. 

Your Broker Isn’t Helping You Contain Costs Year-Round

Employee benefits brokers should not only be reaching out when it comes time for your annual renewal. Top-notch benefits consultants are working with you year-round to make sure you’re taking every possible step to keep your benefits costs contained.

True cost containment strategy requires constant effort in the form of chronic condition identification and management, medication adherence, large-scale claim intervention, financial oversight, diligent carrier reconciliations, and helping employees find high-quality — fair-cost providers. 

Your Broker Doesn’t Understand Your Situation

If your employee benefits broker is simply throwing options your way without asking any questions about the specifics of your unique situation, they’re not doing you any favors. They’re doing you a grave disservice. 

Benefit strategies are not cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all.

Your Broker isn’t Looking for Better Options for You

An employee benefits broker’s main job is to make sure you’re getting the most value for your benefits investment while managing risk and maintaining your compliance. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always quick, but it’s their job, and you should expect them to do it. 

Your Broker is Stuck in the Technology Dark Ages

In the past few years, countless technological innovations have been developed to ease the administrative burdens of HR personnel everywhere. To that end, employee benefits brokers should be helping you streamline your processes through automation. From onboarding and benefits enrollment to payroll, paid time off, family medical leave, performance evaluations, and cobra administration, countless solutions exist for each one of these tasks — and much, much more. 

Your Benefits Broker Doesn’t Lend their Expertise

Some employee benefits brokers like to play it safe and only present you with options, leaving it entirely up to you to formulate a decision. While a broker can’t decide for you, they should be able to offer up recommendations, along with a rationale for their recommendation and the pros and cons of other options.

Finding an Effective Employee Benefits Broker

A good employee benefits broker is an invaluable asset to your business, and ideally a seamless extension of your Finance and HR departments. They can help you navigate the murky, complicated waters of health insurance, guide you through tough decisions, and find ways to save you money. 

Remember that a broker’s job is to make your job easier, at least when it comes to employee benefits, so you can focus on doing what you do best. The days of a broker retaining a client with an annual round of golf, occasional lunch, and holiday gifts for the HR department are long gone.

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