The internet has revolutionized how humans interact and how we shop for the things we need, including health insurance.
For companies, shopping for health insurance quotes is much more complex, however. Identifying the needs of your employees, working within regulation, and determining the costs can overwhelm even the most seasoned benefits team.
Clearly, shopping online for health insurance isn’t the best route to go. Instead, companies need qualified agents on their side.
Even if your company has an agent, however, you could still be losing out on serious cost savings and service.
How do you know if you are?
Let’s dive a bit deeper into what your insurance agent should be doing and how you can figure out if you’re getting the best service or if it is time to change your agent of record.
Insurance Agents & Brokers: What Does a Health Insurance Agent Do?
A health insurance agent is different from a broker in that they typically work with one product. This limits your ability to choose alternative plan options. However, a broker has more flexibility to shop around on your behalf and get you the best possible outcome. If you’re looking to save more money, improve your employee benefits, or simply find a better plan, a group health insurance broker could be a better solution. Read more about the difference between a health insurance broker and agent.
The Basics—The Bare Minimum Services Your Agent Should Offer
Assist You With Claim Issues
Your insurance agent should be assisting you with any claim issues your employees encounter. This could be something as simple as calling a hospital on the insured’s behalf to more complex tasks like writing letters to doctors and hospitals and sending documents to the right locations.
Negotiate Insurance Plan Renewal Rates
Renewals happen almost every year, and without a skilled and experienced health insurance broker or agent, premiums could skyrocket as could out-of-pocket expenses for employees. Your agent should be negotiating renewal rates on your behalf.
Provide Information About Health Insurance Plans
Your health insurance agent should also explain your benefits, plan designs, and options to employees if needed. Since your plans may change from year to year, it’s important that your agent does this every single enrollment period.
Aid With Billing Problems
Whether your employees are having problems applying their insurance to specific treatments that are covered or having issues with billing in general, your agent should help. Your agent should really serve as a support network for anything related to billing.
Signs Your Agent Could Do More
Your insurance agent should be your advocate, advisor, and dedicated partner in health insurance. To determine if your agent is fitting the bill, consider these 5 signs that your agent could be doing more.
Sign #1. You haven’t noticed any significant cost savings.
You should absolutely expect and receive cost savings by using a health insurance agent. They should be able to get the savings you need to stay in business and support your employees. Good cost-savings are a great sign that you’ve hired an experienced and skilled broker. That experience should be leveraged on your behalf.
Keep in mind, insurance companies have more to gain if they work with an experienced broker because brokers help their clients with risk management. Risk management helps you avoid risk and exposures that can lead to more serious claims.
Sign #2. You spend too much time calling other providers.
Your agent should save you from spending time calling to speak with account managers to negotiate rates. You shouldn’t have to worry about policy agreements or adding different policies to your current plan. Your agent should handle this for you. If they are not, your agent is not going above and beyond for you.
Sign #3. Customer service is lacking.
Service is an important component of having a health insurance agent on your side. Customer service from your agent should always be proactive. Your agent should know what you and your employees need before you do. And they should be making those suggestions to you throughout the year.
Customer service also has to do with friendliness. If your agent isn’t friendly or you don’t feel they are offering the quality of service you need to make intelligent decisions, they definitely aren’t going above and beyond.
Sign #4. You are handling more complex components of your policies than they are.
Your agent should act as your employee benefits advisor. They should handle all the confusing, uncomfortable, and complex aspects of your insurance policies. They should also offer advice you need to navigate your policies, claims, etc.
This is essential for employers. You simply do not have the bandwidth to manage your employee benefits, including medical insurance, on your own. You need a trusted advisor to manage it for you. If your agent isn’t tackling all the details of your employer-sponsored plans, then you should consider shopping for a new agent.
Sign #5. You feel locked into specific policies.
Your agent should be an advocate and a professional who is free to offer the best plan for you and your employees. Instead of being locked into policies because your agent isn’t free to offer other products, you should be able to choose what’s best.
Your employees deserve the best policies and coverage. And you deserve the right cost savings. With the right agent on your side, you will be able to secure a plan that works for both you and your employees.
How PCI Is Different
At Primary Care Insurance Solutions, we take the time to get to know what our clients really need. As an advisor, we know that there are complex issues that all clients face. Employers are constantly putting out fires. We believe that healthcare shouldn’t be another fire you are putting out.
When you work with us, we’ll go above and beyond for you. We are dedicated to making sure you actually get the customer service you need. The quality of our client service and the plans we develop for our clients is second to none.
Reach out to one of our group benefits specialists to see the difference between an agent that does the bare minimum and a specialist who goes above and beyond to provide the services your company deserves.