United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Don’t Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: Top 6 Benefits Services You Shouldn’t Overlook

By Bill Olson, VP, Marketing & Communications at United Benefit Advisors
  Jun 7, 2013 8:00:00 AM

imageSmall and mid-size employers, in particular, often use the services of a broker to get them the lowest rates on group healthcare. Often that means they jump from plan to plan looking for the short-term gains each year. But in today’s volatile healthcare climate, employers should consider purchasing broader strategic planning and benefits advisory services from their benefits broker. Think about it. Employers turn to expert advisors in key enterprise areas, such as commercial insurance, taxes and financial planning—why should healthcare be any different, particularly when it is one of the biggest expenditures you’ll face? Consider the top 6 services below that are in hottest demand right now. With double digit rate increases looming, penalties mounting, and PPACA complexities building by the minute, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Specialized benefits expertise and solutions. You can’t get the HR, health and wellness, and compliance information you need from a one-size-fits-all insurance broker. Make sure you seek the help of a highly specialized benefits advisor who can offer unique expertise related to benefit plan design and management—and can bring a full range of benefit programs (including voluntary and wellness) to the table for a holistic solution. 
  • Strategic planning. Benefits, especially today, are highly complex with significant retention, tax, compensation, compliance, and financial implications. It’s critical to look at containment goals more strategically than just reducing coverage and shifting costs to employees from year to year. This kind of extensive workforce analysis and consultation comes with a price, but can save your organization hugely in the long term. 
  • Independent benchmarking data. As we know, choosing the right health care plan is highly localized. National or carrier data can be very misleading. Seek the help of experts that can supply objective benchmarking data for your specific region, state, industry and size. 
  • PPACA compliance support. Do you think you are exempt from PPACA because you have fewer than 50 employees? Counting employees under the law is extremely complex. Similarly, deciding whether to “pay” or “play” is a highly individualized continuum, not a black and white decision. Make sure you have the consulting, rule explanations, modeling and decision support tools that will help you make these critically important decisions. 
  • Benefits enrollment support. With exchanges, subsidies, and employer plan changes, benefits enrollment is about to get even more complex. Make sure you purchase the best programs that streamline enrollment and provide optimal support to employees. 
  • Employee communications. Talking to employees about your health plan decisions, exchange options, etc., is about to enter a whole new uncharted territory. Make sure you have the expert assistance you need to reposition your communications with cost management, retention and employee engagement in mind.

Topics: UBA, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, PPACA, HR compliance