Let’s start by answering a simple question – “How much time do you spend on selecting your outfit?” The average answer will be half an hour and to state the facts, women spend almost a year while men spend four months of their respective lives to pick what to wear. Now, what is the average time that you take to choose an employee benefits broker for your company? Not even 15 minutes. Yes, you heard it right. This is the time that you spare to hire someone who will be making decisions for your best interests.
From increasing employee retention to boost workplace productivity to influence employee turnover and whatnot, your insurance program has a huge impact on your organization and employees working there. Moreover, it is one of the top business expenses, consuming almost 30% of your compensation cost. With so much at stake, you must hire a trusted benefits broker who will be responsible for all of this. You need to have someone on board who can build attractive packages for your staff members and meet your objectives at an economical cost.
But how to find an employee benefits broker who is reliable and can be trusted with such prominent matters?
There are a plethora of reasons to evaluate a benefits broker for any business. Any IT consultation services provider require a broker who is –
- Well-versed with legislative or compliance changes, such as the Affordable Care Act.
- Embrace technology, such as online open enrollment or integrated HRMS or EDI solutions.
- A comprehensive evaluation of brokers and carriers, in terms of experience, skill, and right technical expertise, to deliver the best value.
- The broker must also align and stack up with the competition.
Also, a few general themes can assist you in identifying the type of broker you have come across.
Good Brokers – Their focus lies completely on insurance so, they may not offer other services related to HR or employee benefits administration.
Better Brokers – These brokers offer much more than insurance. They understand the interconnected wants of HR with their employees. This type of broker may also lack the requisite resources to assist you but can prepare the right roadmap for new programs or systems.
Best Brokers – They are the perfect technology partner that evaluates the organizational needs and recommends the right health insurance, technology, support, and more. Their goal is to empower the company and its employees, hence prepare plans that benefit.
Taking time to ask the right questions is an evaluation step. So, here are a few questions that you can ask the potential employee insurance brokers to evaluate their knowledge, experience, and eligibility as per your business requirements and the answers you should be looking for. Have a read:
Quest 1: Do you have any effective method for controlling healthcare costs?
As we already said, employee benefits administration demand huge investments from their employers. Although you want to provide your staff with the best plans without compromising on any aspect, it won’t hurt anyone to find the methods to control the cost. Also, this question will help you analyze the knowledge and intelligence of your broker.
A skilled professional will come up with the most effective ideas to create a scheme that works in the long run and adapts with the changes. The experienced employee benefits brokers use benchmarking and data analytics to show where your premium falls as compared to other companies in your industry. They will also get you the best rates by negotiating with insurance carriers and recommend the options to fund the benefits program.
Ques 2: How did you manage your most critical challenge related to the benefits plan?
The primary aim of every employee benefits plan is to protect them and make them feel secure in unexpected situations. The schemes are tailor-made to suit their personal interests and offer them maximum benefits while they are sick or face a severe accident. However, when the time arises to actually avail those plans, the challenge is to execute them smoothly and easily. This is where brokers step in by playing a perfect middleman between doctors, sponsors, and employees.
Therefore, it is essential that you know their past experiences and how they dealt with the most challenging scenarios. Their answer will make it easy for you to evaluate how the benefits broker will assist your office members at the time of need.
Ques 3: How do you plan to keep us updated on legislative and compliance changes?
Here is one significant question to find out how much faith you can put in your benefits brokerage service. There are constant updates that employers need to know and this job is done by none other than brokers. They are connected with their clients regularly via emails and messages to give them all the latest information and news related to attorney services, online libraries, HR consulting, and other legislative changes.
They will also be responsible for telling you where the news is coming from, are they putting these newsletters together themselves or have a third-party team of ERISA to work on the updates. Remember that an authentic and credible insurance broker can play a key role in keeping you in compliance with regulations.
Ques 4: What online health benefits administration capabilities do you offer?
The manual way of keeping records and administering the benefits programs, demand a lot of time and energy. No wonder why employers and brokers are shifting toward online tools and incorporating new employee benefit software systems into their schemes. Needless to say, evaluating the right platform can be a strenuous task for you hence, discussing the same with potential brokers is the ideal way to go.
They can help you with a smooth online transition which is more convenient than seeking the solution on your own. Furthermore, you can deal with your benefits plan strategically and also have access to online tools to tackle the challenges. So, make sure that you hire a professional employee health insurance broker who can integrate your system into the benefits plan.
Ques 5: Can you provide me with some reliable references?
Of course, every insurance broker will claim to be the best but you need to know if they are suitable for your company or not. The most convenient way to do so is by asking for their references. The genuine and reliable ones will not hesitate to give the list of clients they have worked previously with.
Ask those previous employers about their experiences and align them with the answers provided by the brokers. In case they don’t, read it as a warning. Also, consider the industries and clients they have served because it is better to hire a broker who has worked with a similar business as yours.
Ques 6: What kind of online enrollment and other online tools do you offer?
A good broker will give you recommendations to integrate the necessary technology. Regardless of ample knowledge, they may lack the resources to integrate them. A broker with advanced solutions will offer a comprehensive solution to every individual’s needs. They will also work alongside you to ensure that the technology-integrated offer must deliver a complete resolution to the problem.
A perfect broker would offer enterprise-class HRMS and Open Enrollment solutions, including – benefits administration, enrollment, payroll solution, and advanced and customized HRMS with employee-self service. Additionally, IT professional services providers can quickly and easily train their staff through integrated solutions.
Ques 7: How do you manage the renewal process?
Different brokers underline different timelines for renewing plans before the open enrollment date. Some may recommend you 60 days prior open enrollment. Others may reach out to you three months prior to the renewal date for improvement till the last minute.
A broker who approaches you six months prior renewal date gives you ample time to think & review the data, gather competitive quotes, and make the best decision for the company. Certainly, a perfect broker would give you the ability to investigate products and recommend the best that will work for your employees, which also aligns with your budget.
Ques 8: How much compliance support do you provide?
A good and relevant broker consumes all the knowledge regarding federal and state regulations. They will guide the associated company with better compliance information. A dedicated broker would go a step further. They would offer audits and modeling along with communicating the relevant compliance and ways to manage related issues, such as ACA reporting and tools required to make informed decisions for remaining compliant.
Ques 9: How will you advocate for my employees?
Any broker would look into how efficient and effective is your communication about the benefits to your employees. Enterprise software development firms have 50 to even 10,000 employees, and communicating benefits plans to each employee is a vital as well as time-consuming task.
A benefits broker ensures that every employee understands the benefits plan and selects the most suitable to them. Brokers also serve as a liaison with the carrier on behalf of the firm’s employees to clarify the doubts regarding coverage issues and plans.
Ques 10: What kind of wellness programs do you provide?
Some brokers may offer you limited options in a wellness program as per their knowledge and will focus on selling those underlining their benefits. On the other hand, brokers with better knowledge regarding extensive programs will first look into the cost and then offer solutions that match your budget with the best features.
Exceptional brokers offer tailored solutions, which they prepare after a thorough investigation about the current wellness program most recommended and adopted by the people of the state. They also closely work with carriers to identify the current disease state data to deliver the best plan for the wellbeing of the employees. Large IT consultation service providers majorly opt for a tailored solution for maintaining employee wellbeing.
Ques 11: Does your technology integrate with our payroll data?
HR and payroll have become imperative for HRs to manage employees’ data tirelessly. The advanced solution has become the need of the hour, so the broker would understand the need for flow of information, continuous monitoring for error omissions.
If your broker offers a solution that streamlines payroll, certainly it can save a lot of HR’s time. Those brokers offering employee benefits bundle packages that connect with each part of the process are the brokers to pick and associate with. By the time and questions answered, you may have understood that brokers make efforts to ensure that your HR delivers productivity while assisting employees with the right plans that also suit the company’s budget.
You simply search for Employee Insurance Broker on Google and you will get a myriad of results in front of you. Amidst so many options, finding the most trusted and credible one can be challenging. It is impossible to analyze their performance by just looking at their names and website. This is where these questions will come in handy for you. Considering their answers, you can recruit an expert who is perfect for your business and create a plan that is ideal for your employees.