Is it time to hire a new health insurance agent?
About 157 million Americans have insurance coverage through their employer. Of those employers, some 63 percent of them use a health insurance agent. The value of using a health insurance agent is undisputed. In Houston, Texas, our team helps hundreds of businesses achieve cost savings on their group plans by serving as their insurance agent.
But what if your current agent isn’t saving you as much as they could? Is it possible that you are paying out more per employee than you have to?
Unfortunately, a hectic schedule, day-to-day office demands, and business operations can reign in any investigation of your company’s health care options.
If your company is one of the third of companies who use health insurance agents, and you’ve stayed with the same team for years, it could be time to take a closer look at what you’re getting. Compare your broker with the following points to see how they stack up. It could be time to break-up for good.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Health Insurance Agent
To determine if your health insurance agent is doing their best for your company, start by asking questions. All good investigations start with the right questions. Play journalist for the day and analyze the answers you come up with to the following questions.
–Does your agent keep you up to date?
If you are unaware of how many are employees are currently enrolled in your group health plan, your broker might not be doing his job. Their job is to keep you in the know about employee enrollment, benefits use, how to cater to a new market of employees and more. This information guides your plan and improves your employees experience with your company.
-Are you being presented with multiple options each enrollment period?
Every year, the enrollment period should have your broker working overtime. They should prepare options for your plan, research if adjustments are needed, and present you with comprehensive plan changes. The more options available the better your savings could be.
-Do they handle anything beyond your insurance plans?
Health insurance agents should provide more than just health plan services. After all, you could do that yourself if you had the time. Instead, brokers should dig deep and manage benefits packages, give your HR department a bit of a break, keep up with employee health insurance needs and more.
-Are they available for compliance updates?
Compliance is a delicate process. Without it, your company could come under fire and be penalized. Experienced health insurance agents keep your company up-to-date with federal and local Houston, Texas compliance standards to protect your business.
-How responsive are they to your employee’s concerns?
As an extension of your HR department, your broker should quickly answer any questions your employees may have regarding their health plan. If you find your team answering their questions or contacting the broker for them, you could be getting the short end of the stick.
–Are they available to resolve billing issues?
Claims issues can arise, and when they do your health insurance agent should be there to help. From adjusting billing statements to scrutinizing preferred providers, a professional broker will always be there to resolve billing issues.
-Can they compile documentation to assist with resolving claims?
Further still, documentation is necessary to resolve claims. Instead of adding another task to your already overworked HR department, a broker should tackle this for your team.
After answering those questions, how do you feel about the broker you currently use? Does he live up to these standards?
Health Insurance Agents Should Be an Extension of Your HR Department
Your broker should also be a member of your HR team. They serve as your personal benefits expert and know precisely how to comply with state and federal regulations. This frees up your HR team to do what they do best. Ultimately, health insurance agents are responsible for personalizing health benefits.
Your benefits team (aka your broker) should also evaluate the HR technology process to leverage what’s available and help your company outpace the competition. They should suggest solutions to improve where your company is today.
Health insurance agents that aren’t seen as the friendliest might not be giving you their all.
At Primary Care Insurance Solutions, we offer our clients recruiting tools, employee onboarding tools, performance appraisal tools, a diverse HR legislation and compliance library, payroll processing and more for HR departments. Our concierge services are some of our most popular, with countless Houston, Texas companies using them to maintain superior HR teams.
We do our best to provide the required support to see you through daily demands placed on your team.
Employees Aren’t Contacting Them
Your health insurance agent should double as a point of contact for your employees. You shouldn’t spend time answering questions they can handle.
If you find your employees refusing to contact your agent for any reason, it could be a sign that either:
A). They aren’t answering employee’s requests, or,
B). They aren’t the friendliest when they do.
Your team should feel 100% comfortable sharing their concerns with your agent. As professionals, they should know how to make your team feel comfortable with sensitive topics like private medical concerns. Finding a broker who is not only well versed with the available options but also one who is compassionate and kind, is essential.
Painful or even awkward phone calls can become a thing of the past if you hire a health insurance agent who carefully listens to your employees. With less time spent talking to employees about their benefits services, your team can stay focused on the task at hand, thereby increasing productivity.
There is a Lack of Opportunities Because Your Agent is Captive
Is your agent a captive agent? If so, your health insurance options are limited. Captive agents only offer plans from certain providers. Plan changes take much longer than with independent agents as well.
Independent agents have access to various carriers and even workers’ compensation insurance for multiple industries.
To get the most of your plan options, ask if your current agent is captive and then consider making a move to a health insurance agent who can offer better cost savings for your company.
Why Switch Agents?
Change can be hard. However, the benefits of switching health insurance agents could outweigh the costs. Those benefits include:
- To get lower cost insurance for your company
- Enjoy better support
- To stay on top of industry changes
- For more services beyond just insurance plan design (HR compliance, Payroll, Employee Benefits Services etc.)
Don’t let emotions blind you to the facts. If it’s time to hire a new health insurance agent make the change. Your company’s budget and employees will thank you.
For more information about hiring a health insurance agent consider the government’s own recommendations at Healthcare.gov.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Americans have insurance coverage through their employer?
About 157 million Americans have insurance coverage through their employer.
What is the main role of a health insurance agent in relation to a company’s group health plan?
A health insurance agent’s main role is to keep the company informed about employee enrollment, benefits use, cater to new market needs, manage benefits packages, keep up with compliance standards, and address any related concerns or issues.
How can a company determine if its current health insurance agent is effective?
Companies can determine the effectiveness of their health insurance agent by evaluating how well they keep them updated, if they present multiple plan options each enrollment period, handle compliance updates, manage benefits beyond just health plans, resolve billing issues, and respond promptly to employee concerns.
What’s the difference between a captive agent and an independent agent?
A captive agent offers plans only from specific providers, limiting options. Independent agents, on the other hand, have access to various carriers and can offer a broader range of services, including workers’ compensation insurance for multiple industries.
What are the potential benefits of switching health insurance agents?
The benefits of switching health insurance agents include getting lower cost insurance for your company, enjoying better support, staying updated with industry changes, and receiving more services beyond just insurance plan design like HR compliance, payroll, and other employee benefits services.