These days, the tasks required of health care benefits brokers extend beyond simply helping employers select a benefits package. Brokers have their work cut out for them, as they need to produce competitive benefits plans designed to attract top talent. These plans need to be affordable yet flexible, staying compliant with the ever-changing health care regulations without presenting budgetary issues down the road.
Since benefit broker roles have become much more dynamic, it’s important they understand an organization’s specific requirements for their benefits policies. In this article, we provide evergreen tips and strategies to assist benefits brokers in adapting to employer needs despite economic uncertainty, the slowdown due to the COVID pandemic, and other changing requirements as time goes on.
Providing Recommendations to Control Benefits Costs
In a benefits broker survey conducted by ConnectYourCar, 63% of respondents stated that offering recommendations to employers about controlling benefits costs was the highest value they could provide. However, brokers also have to manage employer concerns about the increasing expenses associated with these health care benefits
Support and Service Factors
Excluding costs, 56% of brokers said that support and service are the main factors they consider when changing their client companies’ third-party benefits administrator. Surprisingly, only 15% said they considered pricing as an important factor in the change
44% of benefits brokers placed technology as an important factor, saying clients need a self-service system equipped to handle their staff’s benefits needs, whereas 24% of brokers placed a self-service solution as a requirement for their client’s health care benefits. This information offers helpful insight for brokers when recommending and managing tax-advantaged accounts.
Strategy Changes Needed for 2021 and Beyond
Brokers should recommend suitable technology solutions for their clients, as it helps companies save money and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. This allows employers to maximize their benefits budget and use any leftover funds to create more effective benefits plans focused on employees.
For clients unsure about investing in tech-based solutions, brokers should provide advice and recommendation on relevant applications for their clients. It’s important to mention to the client that technology investments can be funded using tax-advantaged accounts and payroll tax savings, without affecting the overhead costs.
Brokers must stay up-to-date on the latest benefits trends and regulations. Partner communications, new certifications, webinars, and e-newsletters are all resources that can be utilized to deliver a better value to their employer clients.
Help employer clients handle rising health care costs.
Unfortunately, as health insurance premiums increase so does the overall cost of family health coverage. These rising expenses have a direct impact on the benefits budgets of employers looking to provide the much-needed coverage to their employees. Brokers must help their client businesses maximize the potential of their present budget, prepare for cost increases in the future, and still offer benefits plans that satisfy the clients’ employees.
Technology is the answer
Fortunately, technology offers a direct solution for clients that can save them both time and money. Online tools and systems help improve the efficiency of the benefits administration, ensure employers meet compliance standards and offer assistance for account administration, open enrollment, & other critical functions.
Employers can utilize funds saved from more efficient technology-based operations by preparing improved benefits plans for their employees. A proper technology solution will boost the end-user experience, increasing overall productivity, engagement, and enrollment of their currently offered benefits plans. This means businesses won’t need to spend as much time addressing complaints or answering the questions of employees. Of course, budgetary restraints will often be one of the first things on a clients’ mind when it comes to their technology investments, so brokers should take the ROI (return on investment) into account when suggesting new technology to their clients.
Sometimes, a client will already have a technology-based solution in place, but it may not be current enough or suitable for the clients’ needs. Brokers need to stay educated and prepared so they can offer superior technology recommendations. When researching the current solutions available, it’s important to look for options that cater to companies of all budgets and sizes.
It’s also important that brokers understand their client’s individual requirements. Ideally, they should come up with solutions that can mesh with a client company’s existing infrastructure but are able to be customized as needed. Solutions offered by brokers must solve existing problems, not create new ones.
How brokers can improve their knowledge?
Brokers can refer to experts in the health care & HR fields in order to keep themselves updated on the best HR practices, technology systems, and ever-changing legislation. E-newsletters, email blasters, webinars, industry websites, and magazines also offer other easy ways to stay informed.
Brokers should maintain up-to-date certifications on popular topics like health savings accounts and flexible compensation so they can offer the best service to their clients. They may also find third-party administrators to be a helpful resource. Utilizing administrator tools such as educational content, legislative information, and communication libraries will help them provide valuable assistance to their present (and future) clients.