When it comes to employee benefits, the saying “No news is good news” may be your mantra as a human resources professional or benefit administrator. If you aren’t hearing any feedback or complaints from employees, you may believe your plan is operating smoothly and meeting your company’s needs. Input from your broker may also influence this mindset, since you trust their judgement to provide you the best plan. But is this attitude really the best when trying to attract and retain the best talent, offer the most competitive benefit package and save your company money?
Instead of basing your benefit decisions off of merely what your broker says or what your employees do or don’t say, use hard data and claims auditing. This way, you have actual proof of what is and isn’t working, how you can save money and where you may be overpaying.
Do Traditional Brokers Really Save You Money?
When a company is looking to change their benefit plan, they traditionally want to find a broker that might be able to improve their service levels or reduce cost. Unfortunately, both companies and traditional brokers often overlook the most important data which can demonstrate wasted benefit dollars and benefits not aligning with employee needs.
Companies themselves fall short because they don’t take the time to evaluate employee input and understand what their employees want from their benefits. If they aren’t hearing complaints, an HR department will assume there are no major issues.
A traditional broker, on the other hand, will fall short because they are beholden to the large carrier models from which they receive compensation. With health insurance companies as massive as they are, brokers don’t have the ability to personalize plans for the unique needs of a company. Even more costly is the inability for a traditional broker to stop the waste and theft that occurs behind the walls of a traditional carrier.
What Does “Data Over Emotion” Mean?
Next to salaries, benefits are commonly the second-largest expense of a company. If you’re only basing your benefit decisions on the limited verbal feedback you hear, you’re likely paying too much for too little and wasting your investment. Accessing the data available from your employees and the claims that have been generated from previous years is the first step to using data over emotion. The investment in employee benefits is to attract and retain key employees, but how do you make sure that investment is yielding the returns you want if you don’t collect feedback?
Is No News Really Good News?
As a benefit administrator, you may think your employees aren’t having any issues with their benefits because you aren’t hearing any comments, complaints or issues. Often, the leadership team at a company may rate the quality of their benefit plan based on feedback they’re getting from employees. However, just because everything seems to be running smoothly on the surface doesn’t mean that’s always the case.
Even if your employees aren’t offering any complaints or feedback about their benefits, they still may not understand the full extent of their coverage. Worse still, your company and employees may be overpaying for their current plan and not even realize it.
It is critical to dig deeper and ask questions when evaluating your benefit plan. Read into what exactly is covered, what you are paying for, what your responsibilities will be and what your employer will cover. This is where analyzing company and employee data comes in.
How Do I Find Health Insurance Data?
According to data gathered by Waypoint Benefit Solutions, the majority of employees aren’t vocal about what they like, dislike or value in their employee benefits. Instead, companies will often hear from the most vocal and unhappy minority of employees, and these few complaints will shape changes.
When searching for a new benefits plan, take the time to survey your employees and find out what they genuinely want. Instead of making arbitrary decisions based on what you think may be best, talk to your employees about their desires. Use data-mining techniques like strategic surveys, and audit the claims made by employees for the last 18 months of your current plan. This will give you better insight into what your employees need in a plan and what they value from their benefits.
Using employee feedback and data when making benefit decisions is doubly important: you can use this data to provide employees with a plan that adequately suits their needs and is cost-effective, and employees feel valued because their employer considers their needs.
The Importance of Member Education
Common issues, like when employees believe they’re overpaying for benefits or don’t understand the full extent of their coverage, are often a result of a lack of education, too.
If member groups are not informed about the specifics of their plans, this leads to miscommunications, discontent and disillusionment with both the benefit package and the company itself. Here are some common issues we see when surveying employees:
- Feeling like they’re paying too much out of their paycheck for benefits
- Not understanding the terminology of insurance, such as “deductible,” “co-insurance” and “co-pays”
- Not understanding all that their package includes and covers, and getting frustrated by what isn’t covered
With a plan from a traditional broker, educational resources can be lacking. Employees may merely accept whatever benefit plan they are offered without question because they need the benefits or are told by a broker that it is the best plan possible.
Paying Too Much for Too Little?
At Waypoint Benefit Solutions, we believe in data over emotion when it comes to benefit plans. We’ve developed an extensive data-mining method to help you get better benefits your employees actually want. Schedule your introductory call today!