Thinking about your company’s group health insurance benefits can be daunting. There are so many moving parts, it seems impossible to make a decision. That’s why knowing what to expect from a group health insurance broker is crucial.
Consider that health benefits account for 25-40% of a company’s payroll. The broker you hire will be an integral part of your team. Their work will affect your budget, company strategy, human resources, and even IT issues. It’s wise to give this decision the attention you would any essential business relationship.
A good group health insurance broker (like Abbot Benefits Group) will help you choose and implement a plan that is right for your business and your employees. You’ll want to take some time to find a broker who is a good fit for your needs. Follow a few guidelines for your search, and the result will be a benefit plan that works for you and your company.
What Is a Broker?
There are a few ways to purchase group insurance. Typically, employers hire either an agent or a broker. It’s important to know the difference, and how it affects you.
An agent represents one company and will choose your plan from the ones that company offers. A broker has a range of companies and plans to choose from, and has a financial responsibility to you, the employer. An agent does not. Both agents and brokers are licensed.
Fundamentally, a broker will:
- Know the market
- Know the laws and regulations
- Know the industry
While hundreds of group insurance brokers meet the fundamental criteria, Abbot Benefits Group specializes in small and medium-sized businesses in the Houston area and has 40 years of experience. If we aren’t the right choice for you, knowing what services should be provided will help you choose the right broker to handle your company’s benefits plan.
What to Expect from a Broker
It’s important to identify the services your broker should provide, and how they perform those services. This will foster a good working partnership between you and your broker. Knowing about the following services will help help you make the most informed choice when moving forward with a group insurance broker.
Free Enrollment and Benefits Counseling
Brokers earn a commission from the provider they represent, so there should be no fee attached to consultations regarding benefits or enrollment. Ask specific questions about how much counseling support you will receive at no cost to you.
Wide Range of Carriers
Bundling services is an effective way to reduce costs. A broker who represents a range of insurance carrier types can reduce your premium by combining plans into a benefits package.
Negotiating for Lowest Rates
A good broker will aggressively negotiate on your behalf to get the best rates. With group health insurance costs rising at every renewal, you want to be sure your broker is getting you the best possible rates.
One on One Enrollment Services
Make sure your broker provides enrollment services for each of your employees. One-on-one service ensures that employees’ individual insurance needs are met.
Assistance With Claims
Insurance claims can get complicated, and it’s important to know how your broker assists in this process. Make sure you choose a broker who can be relied on to handle claims effectively.
Access to Wellness Plans
If you aren’t taking advantage of wellness plans for your employees, you may be leaving money on the table. Like bundling, using wellness plans can result in lower premiums. They also naturally result in a healthier workforce.
Compliance with ERISA, HIPPA/HITECH, or ACA, to name a few, is paramount, so make sure your broker is ready with documentation. The broker will help you keep your records in order and documents submitted on time, ensuring you don’t end up paying penalties or fees.
Dedicated Point of Contact
You want a solid point of contact for all issues. Avoid the confusion and uncertainty of unaddressed voicemails and emails by securing a dedicated point of contact for your plan.
HR Resources, Tools, and Software
This isn’t something all brokers provide, but ask about HR tools like booklets, posters, emails, and newsletters. They can go a long way toward maximizing your benefits plan by educating your workforce. HR software for employee data can be extremely time-saving.
Early Action to Facilitate Renewal
The renewal process can be complicated. There will always be issues around competitive rates and good coverage, not to mention any changes throughout the year. Your broker should have a plan and a timeline for the renewal process.
Ease of Enrollment
Everything can look great on paper, but if enrollment is too complicated, you’re off to a bumpy start. Make sure you thoroughly understand the enrollment process and are comfortable with it. Identify solid points of contact for troubleshooting.
It bears repeating that this is an important business relationship which affects many areas of your company. Communication will keep everything running smoothly throughout the relationship. It’s a good idea to evaluate the communication style between you and your broker to ensure it’s working in favor of your business goals.
Optimize Your Experience With Abbot Benefits Group
Understanding what services to look for in a group health insurance broker will help you get the maximum benefit from the insurance plan you choose. As business and health costs continue to rise, a good broker can make a tremendous difference in the financial health of your company, and the health and happiness of your workforce.
If you’re in the Houston area and have a small or medium-sized business, Abbot Benefits Group could be your perfect partner to help you provide health, dental, life, and other insurance options to your employees.
Contact us today by clicking here, calling 281-374-7577, or emailing email@example.com to find out how we can help you.