When ACA was first passed, many in the insurance industry feared that group health brokers would be put out of business. There is still uncertainty today about the role of agents and brokers given the health care exchanges - and yet, there are also still group health brokers who are thriving.
How? They’ve realized that they need to provide immense value to their clients as a competitive edge, and can no longer survive by just providing quotes and placing coverage. Let’s examine one surefire strategy that top brokers are using to win BORs and outperform the competition.
The emergence of value-added solutions
Ten years ago, a broker who offered “value-added” solutions, such as HR support, wellness programs, COBRA administration and claims analysis, was seen as cutting-edge. Today, there are so many brokers offering such services that it is hardly a differentiator anymore.
While some brokers still focus on the basics, many clients have actually come to expect a more full-service experience from their broker - making value-adds a necessity for top-tier brokers.
How modern brokers differentiate
So how does a modern broker really stand out today? We’ve spoken to a lot of employers, and the message we’re hearing is that brokers are offering all sorts of great extras, but are falling short on the one area employers care most about: their health plan.
It seems paradoxical, but while brokers are offering a range of new technology solutions, most are still presenting plan design proposals using traditional 3-ring binders and spreadsheets. That approach may have worked 20 years ago, but plan options have gotten considerably more complex - particularly with ACA - and a spreadsheet just isn’t ideal for brokers to advise clients on their options.
Employers across the board expressed frustration with the spreadsheet and binder renewal approach. However, brokers at the head of the pack are delivering a better experience for their clients.
The benefits of Dynamic Plan Design
What exactly are brokers looking for? They need and want:
Help managing exploding health care costs, while also maintaining a competitive plan for employees
Help complying with ACA’s complex regulations
Help making an educated decision - they still want and need a broker’s guidance!
To wrap up the renewal conversation in fewer meetings
A simplified process without being overwhelmed with data
For brokers who still rely on outdated spreadsheets, there is a better way to meet these client demands. Dynamic Plan Design software tools allow brokers to model plan options and scenarios dynamically, adjusting in real time to explore options and answer questions. Brokers who use this method tend to close deals and wrap up renewals in just 1-2 meetings - and employers love it.
Read more about this modern approach to plan design conversations in the e-book, What Employers Want: The Case for Dynamic Plan Design, and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below .