The Benefits of Hiring the Right Broker

Employee benefits plans can be intimidating for those responsible for managing them. There are many options from which to choose, the language of benefits plans is not simple to understand, and navigating the complexity of the plans and claims process can be daunting for even those well versed in benefits.  Enter benefits brokers – those with professional knowledge in the benefits space who help companies assess their needs, shop for the best value, assist in the event of claims, and help maintain compliance with state and federal regulations, including ERISA and the Affordable Care Act.

Unless you have a comprehensive understanding of health care and employee benefits programs, you may have a tough time balancing your leadership responsibilities while educating yourself and your employees on benefits policies in an increasingly complex regulatory environment. That’s why it’s vital to partner with a competent benefit broker. A broker will:

  • Assess your needs and obtain quotes.
  • Compare coverage of different insurers to get the best rates.
  • Make recommendations in an unbiased manner.
  • Search for opportunities to reduce overall premiums.
  • Explain premiums, terms, and conditions of coverage.
  • Provide administrative follow-up, such assisting in binding coverage, open enrollment support, certificates of insurance, etc.
  • Be available to answer questions following purchase/renewal.
  • Assist in claims handling.
  • Help you understand and comply with state and federal benefits laws.

When choosing a benefits broker, consider a broker who has experience with companies in the industry in which you operate, as well as companies of similar size, demographics, and geography. You also want to ensure the broker possesses a comprehensive knowledge of various insurers, plan designs, and funding options. There are many options for employers and it’s important that your broker is knowledgeable in ALL of them, from traditional plans to CDHPs, and from self-funded to fully funded options. Your broker should be able to tell you the pros and cons of each and the impact (financial and otherwise) to your company.

In addition to medical insurance, you want to ensure that your broker is knowledgeable on other types of benefits that you may wish to offer to your employees — dental, vision, disability, and life insurance, among others.

In selecting a broker, you should determine the level of support that they will provide during your open enrollment season.  Many will conduct your educational meetings if you desire and assist in open enrollment communications.

You should also find out the extent to which the broker will assist with claim issues. Some brokers have account managers whose sole purpose is to assist employees when these challenges arise and help them navigate their issues to resolution.

Ensure that the broker is knowledgeable of and will support your compliance efforts.  Many brokers will conduct a compliance review on your behalf, identify areas for improvement, and help bring your organization into compliance.  Audits are on the rise, so this is a key area where a benefits broker can add value.

Finally, all the aforementioned services and requests should be provided in an efficient, timely, and polite manner.  Customer service levels are often what will differentiate one broker from another, so ensure that you check references and that a broker’s current customers are pleased with the responsiveness and service provided.

Finding the right benefits broker for your company can be a challenge; however, if you review the items above and take the time to thoroughly evaluate potential brokers, you will increase your chances of success and ensure the right benefits solutions for your company.

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9 Responses

  1. It makes sense that finding the right broker might be a bit of a challenge. However, I feel like the effort is worth it most of the time. It’s like my friend would tell me, anything worth your time and effort usually pays off in the long run.

  2. It’s great that this article explains the importance of a broker that is knowledgeable on different types of benefits, not just medical insurance. If you have someone who has a variety of information, it could help them provide you with the assistance in choosing the best services for your business. In order to test their knowledge, you’d probably want to set up an appointment with potential medical brokers so you can learn more about their services and what they offer as well as ensure that they are willing to give you the information you need.

  3. Thank you for the information regarding the benefits of hiring the right broker and the kind of knowledge they should posses. I think that it’s important for the broker to assess the needs of the client and obtain the right quotes for them to choose from. By giving the client a choice of the prices and comparing insurers, it can help the client make the right decision for their needs.

  4. Kylie Dotts says:

    Having a broker that would work on your behalf to help with compliance partner reviews would be helpful. When running it business it seems that any little thing that could help lower the amount of work on your shoulders would be helpful. That way you can focus on running a business instead of doing paperwork.

  5. I like how you said that you should look at insurance brokers who have experience working with areas that you work in. That would be really handy if you wanted to ensure that you get the best policies possible. Having someone experienced working with you would be much better than trying to go it alone.

  6. Wade Joel says:

    I found it interesting when you said some brokers have account managers that assist when challenges arise and navigate their issues. When it comes to financial planning, I like to make sure that the broker I hire has a plan and a back-up plan in case something happens. Thank you for your tips on hiring the right broker.

  7. It’s true that employee benefits can be an intimidating subject to talk about especially for a new business owner like myself. I don’t have a comprehensive understanding of health care programs which is why I plan to hire a broker to help me out. Personally, I think they could be useful since they can assist me with claims handling so that I will know what to do if any of my employees wish to file a claim for compensation.

  8. I can see how businesses would want to hire an insurance broker after reading your article. Thank you for elaborating on how they can assess a business’ needs and obtain quotes. In general, I don’t see how a business can manage without one.

  9. Wade Joel says:

    I appreciate that you explained the role of a broker. I’m glad to read that one of their responsibilities is looking for opportunities to reduce overall premiums. I also appreciate that you included tips for finding the right one because this will be my first time searching for insurance. I’ll make sure to find one that supports my compliance efforts just as you suggested. Thank you!

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