We recently sent out a news brief as part of our newsletter outlining information on the COVID-19 Delta Variant. Download the news brief here.
We recently sent out a news brief as part of our newsletter outlining information on the COVID-19 Delta Variant. Download the news brief here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a drastic toll on individuals’ health routines. Many people have postponed preventive care during the pandemic, waiting for a safer time to visit a doctor. That time may be coming soon, so employers should be ready for health claims to surge in 2021.
Building a high-quality, cost-effective benefits plan requires putting a lot of pieces together in exactly the right way, and when you’re searching for an adviser, you should look for someone who knows how those pieces fit best for your business. A great adviser won’t assume that they know everything about every aspect of the healthcare industry, but they will know how to find the right industry experts and bring them together to build unique solutions for your company.
Here’s why you should always work with an adviser who wants to build the perfect benefits team:
The healthcare industry is a massive, complex machine with countless moving parts. A great adviser will know how all those parts work together to help the machine function properly, but they’re unlikely to know everything about the parts themselves.
This concept is the same in virtually any other field as well. A bakery manager, for example, knows how to make customers happy by combining great food with great service. In the kitchen, though, the bakers are the ones mixing the right ingredients together and heating them at the perfect temperature for the perfect amount of time. And of course, the bakers’ success relies on the skills and knowledge of the people growing the ingredients and manufacturing the ovens.
Just like customers at a bakery, your job as an employer isn’t to worry about all the smaller processes going on in the background of your benefits plan. If you have a great adviser, they’ll put the perfect team together so you can relax and enjoy the final product.
Your adviser doesn’t need to know how to perform surgery in order to be great at their job. Instead, they should be experts in connecting the healthcare specialists who can optimize the quality of your plan. This means that your adviser should be able to:
This is why finding an adviser who understands the healthcare supply chain is crucial to the success of your own plan. By seeking out the right experts and being willing to team up with them, your adviser can create a team of specialists who can maximize the positive impact of your plan at every point, from pharmaceuticals to benefits administration to primary care.
Don’t be fooled by brokers who claim to be experts in every area of the benefits industry. In fact, being unwilling to ask questions or seek outside help should be a major red flag in your search for an adviser. Can you imagine the chaos if the aforementioned bakery manager tried to fix a faulty oven instead of calling in a trained repairman? A broker who makes decisions about your plan without consulting specialists could have the same effect on your plan, burning up your savings opportunities and charring the quality of your employees’ care.
Advisers who search for specialists to partner with are simply ensuring that you get the very best from your plan. The healthcare supply chain is long and complicated, and your adviser will have more success managing it effectively if they can consult with the experts within it.
Being willing to admit when expert advice is needed can be one of the most important qualities your adviser can have. By identifying how specialists could help your plan and making the right connections, your adviser avoids the toxic trap of assuming that their existing knowledge is all that’s needed to optimize your plan. The end result is likely to be a pretty sweet plan for both your business and your employees.
Contact us today to learn more about how teaming up with healthcare specialists can help your adviser make the most out of your plan.
Many business owners see their benefits plan as just another annual expense. The truth, however, is that your company’s plan is a deeply personal investment, and your adviser should treat it as such. When choosing to work with an adviser, you and your business deserve better than whichever broker can offer you the “least expensive” increase on your renewal. Instead, find out what your prospective adviser’s mission is, and see if it aligns with your goals. If you and your adviser see eye to eye on what your plan should be doing for your employees, the results could include dramatic growth for your business over time.
Here’s why you should always learn about your adviser’s mission before deciding to work with them:
While, yes, your plan should help you create savings to help your business grow, your adviser should be focused on building a benefits plan that takes care of your employees. At its core, the healthcare industry is about keeping people healthy, and your adviser should be focused on creating a plan that reflects that by providing care that’s:
Choosing an adviser who sees your employees’ health and happiness as the ultimate goal can make a huge difference in how your plan impacts your business, and you should establish whether or not your employees are part of their mission before signing a contract.
Even if you and your adviser have the same overarching goals in mind, you may still be a poor fit for each other. Once you’ve established that you and your adviser are on the same page regarding why you want to build a better benefits plan, you should have a discussion about what it’s going to take to achieve those goals. Talk about what your other goals are for your business. How do you want to see it grow? How much will your adviser be involved in the process? How much are you willing to change your current plan to see the results you’re hoping for?
This can be a tough conversation to have with a prospective adviser, but it will reveal whether you see eye-to-eye on how your benefits plan can be used as a strategic advantage for your business. For example, if a prospective broker is only willing to meet with you once a year when it’s time to renew your plan, it can indicate that they’re not as invested in their mission as they need to be to help your business grow. However, if you meet with an adviser who proves that they’re dedicated to their mission by meeting with you throughout the year and offering a performance guarantee, you may be on the right track to forming a great benefits team.
Making sure you and your adviser are walking the same path isn’t just important so you feel comfortable about who you’re working with – it’s crucial to making your benefits plan as effective as possible. Even if your adviser provides you with the best tools and strategies they have at their disposal, they won’t work if you and your employees don’t buy in to what your adviser tells you.
By making sure you and your adviser have the same mission, you’ll feel more comfortable following your adviser’s recommendations. Your employees will then follow your example and become more engaged in their plan, using the tools your adviser provides to help create savings for both themselves and the business. By simply working with an adviser whose mission you believe in, you can create a chain reaction that can help your business save tens of thousands of dollars every year.
A broker who sees your plan as nothing but paperwork and dollar signs can’t take your business where you want it to go. By working with an adviser who prioritizes your employees’ care and has the same goals for your plan as you do, you’ll be on your way to having a benefits plan that you and your employees will be eager to work with, setting your workers and your company up for success.
Contact us today to learn more about how an adviser who fits your business can give you a benefits plan you can believe in.
The key to a successful benefits plan is high employee engagement. If your workers don’t use the tools and strategies your adviser provides them, they’re unlikely to get the savings and high-quality care that your plan can offer. This can result in your business not receiving the full impact of your plan’s potential.
Even though many employers understand the importance of employee engagement, they may also make incorrect assumptions about the speed, rate, and method in which that engagement increases. These unrealistic expectations can cause business owners to become discouraged about their plan, potentially even giving up on it before it has the chance to help create savings and growth for their company.
Here are three of the biggest misconceptions that business owners have about employee engagement in their benefits plan:
Many employers think of employee engagement as a one-and-done process. In reality, though, the tools and strategies your adviser presents will need to be shown to your employees repeatedly over time. Even when presented with a great plan that can provide substantial savings and high-quality care, your employees will need time and experience with your benefits plan to get excited enough to engage with it. From there, the excitement – and engagement – will slowly spread among your workforce. The results you’re hoping for may take longer than a year to manifest, and there’s no quick fix to speed up the process, but the ultimate impact will create a culture that encourages new and existing employees to become more involved in their benefits plan.
In order to be successful in reaching your employee engagement goals, you first have to decide what constitutes “success” for your business. Not all of the tools your adviser provides will be useful to all of your employees, so aiming for 100 percent engagement can make you think that you’re falling behind on your engagement goals even if you’re really succeeding.
For example, if you have 150 employees and include a concierge service in your plan, all 150 of your employees are highly unlikely to use the service. Conversely, tools like telehealth services that can help employees save time and money for checkups and minor ailments are more likely to achieve higher engagement. Tools and strategies that cater to more specific situations are likely to see lower engagement rates, and you should talk with your adviser to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Building an effective benefits plan that works for the company and employees is a team effort. However, the impact on employee engagement that can come from you and your adviser is relatively limited. In fact, most of the work that goes into increasing employee engagement will come organically from the workers themselves. Here’s how:
The story of a great benefits plan is interesting when it comes from an employer or adviser, but it’s far more compelling when passed from employee to employee. Letting your own workers be the ones to sing the praises of your benefits plan can be the most effective way to boost employee engagement over time.
Increasing your employee engagement isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers, but it will pay off over time. By working with your adviser to manage your expectations about how fast and how much you should expect your workers to increase their engagement with the tools in your plan, you can build a plan that your employees want to be involved in. As the word spreads, so will engagement, and before you know it, you’ll have a benefits plan that your entire workforce can get behind.
Contact us today to learn more about how to get your employees excited about their new and improved benefits plan.
When you’re spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on benefits and seeing unimpressive results, being discouraged and disappointed is completely reasonable. Great healthcare has the potential to bring a lot of positive effects to your business, including improved employee retention rates, better talent recruitment, and reduced absenteeism. In order to receive the maximum impact, though, you need to stop settling for what your current benefits plan is and start imagining what it could be.
A positive mindset is one of the most important qualities an employer can possess when searching for ways to improve their plan, and here’s why:
In life and in the benefits industry, you should never settle for less than you deserve. That’s just what many business owners are doing when it comes to their benefits plans, though. For years, employers have endured paying 5-6 percent more for their plans with each renewal, even though the quality of their plan has stayed the same or even decreased. There are better options out there, but many business owners remain stuck in this benefits rut, convinced that this standard is truly the best that they can get.
In order to achieve better outcomes for your plan (and your business), you must first decide that you, your employees, and your company deserve better than the suboptimal status quo that so many employers settle for. By raising the bar for what you want out of your benefits plan, you take the first step towards turning your plan’s potential into an improved reality.
Teaming up with the right benefits adviser is crucial for a benefits plan that can help your business grow. Your adviser’s emphasis on a positive outlook for your plan is just as important as your own desire to search for better options, and you should never settle for a broker who tries to convince you that the plan you have is the best you can get.
An optimistic adviser will:
By working with an adviser who shares your own hope for your benefits plan, you take a huge step closer to a plan that can become a strategic advantage for your business.
Your adviser may not be able to solve all your employees’ medical problems on their own, but they can provide tools to both improve the quality of their healthcare and make it more affordable. In order to optimize their solutions, though, you need to be able to:
The path to a benefits plan that can help your business reach its full potential can only be paved with a willing, enthusiastic attitude from both you and your adviser. If your adviser can develop a plan and you can take the necessary steps to implement it into your business, you’ll be well on your way to giving your employees high-quality, cost-effective care that can drastically improve their quality of life.
Don’t despair when low-quality, high-cost benefits are no longer sustainable for your business. Instead, get excited about all the possibilities an improved benefits plan could offer your company. By rejecting the status quo in the benefits industry, working with an adviser who has high hopes for your future, and being willing to implement the tools and strategies they provide you, you can transform your plan from a burdensome expense into a great strategic opportunity. The desire for better benefits can blossom into one of the best decisions you could make for your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how a positive outlook on your benefits plan can manifest into big savings.
Changing the norm can be scary in any industry. In healthcare, however, it’s practically unwelcome. Business owners have continuously accepted the norm in benefits spending, paying more every year without seeing a noticeable increase in the quality of their benefits. This practice would be swiftly rejected in any other industry, but many business owners are more comfortable continuing to waste money on ineffective plans than saving money by changing the way they handle their benefits plan.
If you’re unhappy with your current plan, but hesitant to try something new, here’s why you should open your mind to big changes for your plan:
Health insurance costs have been steadily rising for years now, even as the quality of benefits employers receive stays the same or even decreases. Benefits are already one of the largest expenses for most businesses as it is, and if their costs continue to increase by 5 or 6 percent (as they have in recent years), employers will have to find a better solution or risk being run out of business by unaffordable benefits.
Many business owners, however, prefer to deal with the so-called “devil they know” than risk the potential consequences of big changes in their plan. By working with an adviser who offers innovative solutions to the problems associated with status-quo benefits plans, you can put yourself ahead of the competition while avoiding the dreaded annual cost increases that come with most of today’s benefits plans. You’ll just need to be open to the idea of change.
A Plan Your Employees Can Use
A benefits plan that’s “great” on paper, but unaffordable to your employees, is not a great plan at all. Many employers have been led to believe that the plans their brokers are selling them are designed with their employees in mind. In reality, though, many employees may be unable to use any of their plan due to:
Building a plan that serves your employees can require making some big alterations in your existing plan. But ultimately, you’ll be rewarded with a much happier and healthier workforce if you’re willing to take the leap.
One Step At a Time
A great adviser won’t force you to make a bunch of big changes right from the start. Instead, they’ll ease you into your new plan step by step, taking the time to explain your options and answer your questions. They’ll work to understand your company’s unique needs and learn more from you to figure out how to help you achieve your goals for the business. Some big changes will likely be necessary if you want dramatic results, but your adviser should be there with you every step of the way to ensure that you’re comfortable with the decisions you’re making for your plan. Change can be intimidating, especially in an industry that so strongly resists it, so working with the right adviser can be crucial in helping you feel satisfied with your new plan.
A Path To a Better Plan
Your benefits plan won’t be completely transformed overnight. Even big changes take time to implement, but if you’re willing to begin the process and work with a patient and understanding adviser, you can shrug off the status quo cost increases and end up with a flourishing business and satisfied employees.
Contact us today to learn more about how changing up your benefits plan can be the best decision you could make for your business.
The journey to a more cost-effective benefits plan can be a long one, and if you’re working with a broker who’s a poor fit for your business, that journey can become even longer (and more expensive). Finding an adviser who suits your company’s individual needs, however, can be a whole challenge of its own. You don’t want to waste thousands of dollars working with a broker who ultimately fails to create savings within your benefits plan, but determining whether or not an adviser is a good fit for your business during your first few conversations isn’t always easy.
Before you sign that contract and welcome a new benefits adviser onto your team, ask yourself if they seem willing and able to provide these crucial components to a great relationship between a benefits adviser and a business owner:
Your benefits plan is one of your business’ largest expenses, and finding an effective solution to improve it isn’t likely to happen the first time you meet with your adviser. Still, many brokers try this approach – they have a product or strategy that they feel is perfect for your business, and they may try to push you into accepting it before they’ve even gotten to know your company’s unique situation. No matter how they try to convince you, though, a one-size-fits-all method will rarely take you on the best path to optimal savings for your plan.
Your adviser should demonstrate patience and attentiveness, getting to know the individual needs of your business before proposing any grand solutions. Ideally, they’ll have a variety of tools and strategies at their disposal and be able to adjust them as your company’s needs change with time. If they can’t customize their approach, you’re likely to lose out on your benefits plan’s true potential.
Your relationship with your adviser should be just that: a relationship. They may understand the benefits side of business, but you understand your business. You should be asking each other questions throughout the process to ensure that they’re the right person to handle your benefits plan. Your discussions with your adviser should never feel like a one-sided sales pitch, and you should search elsewhere if they’re displaying red flags like:
Just like the dating process that comes before marriage, asking questions and getting to know your adviser before you commit to them is crucial for an outcome that positively impacts both of you.
The money you spend on your benefits plan is an investment in your business and employees, and your adviser should treat their relationship with you as an investment as well. Before you even sign a contract, a good adviser will demonstrate their willingness to invest in their relationship with you. If an adviser you’re considering working with is happy to take time out of their day to answer your questions and get to know your business’ unique needs, this is a good sign that they want to build the right relationship with you to help achieve the best outcome for your plan.
Another easy way to find out if your adviser is willing to invest in you is by asking if they offer a performance-based guarantee. While no broker or adviser works for free, a performance guarantee guarantees that your adviser is willing to bet their own paycheck on their ability to provide you with the best service available. This offer ensures that you and your adviser are on this journey together, and they’ll only succeed if you do, too.
The first few conversations you have with a prospective benefits adviser can reveal a lot about what they’ll be able to do for your business. If your potential adviser can take the time to develop a personalized solution for your plan, provide an ongoing two-sided conversation about their ideas and your needs, and demonstrate an investment in their work for you, they may just be the perfect fit for your company’s benefits plan.
Contact us today to learn more about how an adviser that fits your business can help your company grow.
Employers often operate under the misconception that getting a better benefits plan means getting a new benefits plan. While big changes are sometimes necessary for big improvements, some business owners may shy away from looking at new opportunities for their plan because they don’t want to get rid of their current plan or benefits broker. The truth, however, is that working with a benefits adviser can help increase the quality of your benefits and reduce your costs without requiring you to stop working with your broker or completely change your plan.
Here are some ways your adviser can help you do more with the plan you already have:
Many business owners assume that they have to fire their broker in order to work with a benefits adviser. A great adviser, however, may be willing to work with your broker to help improve your existing plan instead of dismantling it and starting from scratch.
This enables you to:
Not everyone wants to make the full switch from their existing broker to a new adviser, and that’s fine. Your adviser and your broker can form a team that can help maximize the positive impact your benefits plan can have on your business.
The only way to truly tell whether or not your benefits plan is really saving you money is to track your progress over time. Your adviser should have a multi-step process to be able to objectively look at how your benefits plan is impacting your business:
Many traditional plans stop at step two, only revisiting the process when it’s time to renew. Your adviser, however, can work with you throughout the year to develop solutions that evolve with your business. By enhancing what works and adjusting what doesn’t, they can make your existing plan more dynamic, increasing its efficiency as time goes on.
Completely dismantling and rebuilding your benefits plan isn’t always necessary to increase its efficiency. Your adviser’s goal should be to reduce and eliminate unnecessary costs and procedures, which are probably more common than you think if you currently have a traditional benefits plan. For example, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) estimates that up to 30 percent of all surgeries are unnecessary. Imagine how much you could save if your plan helped just two of your employees find less stressful, lower-cost alternatives to invasive operations.
Many business owners don’t know that these savings opportunities exist at all. Your adviser can work alone or with your existing broker to find and eliminate excessive spending within the plan you already have, helping you and your employees spend less while maintaining (or even increasing) quality of care without requiring drastic changes to your plan.
You can change your benefits plan without changing your benefits plan. By working with your existing broker, measuring the progress of your plan, and searching for savings opportunities in the plan you already have, your adviser can help you make your current plan more efficient and cost-effective. Sometimes, unlocking your plan’s true potential is all that’s necessary to transform it from a regular benefits plan into a strategic advantage for your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how your current benefits plan can provide more opportunities for your business.
Traditional benefits plans have changed so little over the years that many business owners don’t even realize that changing their plan is possible. Stagnant, overpriced benefits plans can cause employers to develop misconceptions about how to make their plan more efficient, resulting in uneducated or even unhappy employees and benefits plans with wasted potential.
Here are five of the most common misconceptions business owners have about their healthcare plans:
Just because an insurer is working with you doesn’t mean they’re working for you. Misaligned incentives are a common factor driving up health insurance costs for employers. Insurers make more money as your premiums go up, so there’s no real incentive for them to work to bring your costs down instead. Rather than trusting an insurer at their word, business owners should look for advisers who offer a performance guarantee. This ensures that your adviser only gets paid if they save you money, so you can trust that their promises to help you are backed by their own desire to get paid.
A “great” benefits package is only going to offer great things for your business if it makes your employees happy, and your employees will only be happy with their benefits if they can afford to use them. In 2017, a survey from GoBankingRates found that 57 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Even if they’re the only person relying on their insurance, they may still have a $3,000 deductible, putting them at risk for going into debt even if they have insurance. This benefits system creates a population of “functionally uninsured” people who have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.
Your adviser should work to go beyond simply making sure that your employees have health insurance – they should create a plan that enables your workers to actually be able to use the benefits they’re paying for without going bankrupt.
If your plan needs work, but you don’t want to fire your broker, you don’t have to stay stuck paying ever-increasing costs for the same benefits plan. Your adviser can work with your broker to find solutions that can help you save money while keeping your existing plan. By having your broker team up with your adviser, you get to keep your relationship with your broker while increasing the positive impact your plan can have on your company.
Just because you’re making a change that will benefit your employees doesn’t mean that your employees will understand how to use it. Many employers believe that if they explain a benefit just once, their employees will understand it and begin to correctly utilize it. The truth, though, is that employees need a comprehensive education about their plan to understand how they can get the most out of their benefits. Your adviser can work with you to develop a plan for proper and continuous employee education so that your workers never have to wonder if they’re using their plan the right way.
You don’t have to wait until your renewal to make changes, and in many cases, you and your employees may be better off if you don’t wait until the end of the year. When you discuss changes to your plan with your employees, a lot of information can get lost in all the noise of an annual renewal. This can result in your employees looking over the positive changes and focusing only on negative updates, such as end-of-the-year cost increases. When you make changes that aren’t associated with your renewal, though, your employees can develop a more positive view of the changes in their plan. By implementing new strategies and tools into your plan before your renewal, you facilitate your workers’ understanding of these changes while allowing them to see how these differences can positively affect them.
Many standards that are commonly accepted in traditional benefits plans are simply unnecessary (and often detrimental) for business owners. By rejecting these commonly held beliefs, you can open up your mind and business to a benefits plan that serves both your company and your employees better, improving the healthcare experience for everyone involved.
Contact us today to learn more about how you could be doing more with the benefits plan you have.