“When it comes to providing healthcare as an employer, cost is a major concern. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), applicable large employers – organizations with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees — are required to offer insurance to 95% of their full-time staff.
Organizations want to do everything possible to control these costs, and traditionally health insurance brokers are brought in to help to negotiate down rates with providers. However, a new study illustrates how the role of the insurance broker has evolved from salesperson to strategic consultant, helping employers navigate a challenging climate for providing healthcare to their employees by offering products and services to reduce healthcare costs, providing informational materials for use with employees, and offering guidance on regulatory compliance.
The study, conducted by DirectPath, is titled, Strategies and Service Innovation Shaping Brokers’ Transformation from Sales Representatives to Strategic Benefits Consultant. More than 120 insurance brokers were surveyed regarding the scope of their work as it pertains to a range of employers, some with fewer than 100 employees to some with more than 10,000). Here is what the survey found:
- 83% of the brokers surveyed said employers highly rely on them to control healthcare costs
- 83% of brokers also said their jobs are more challenging now than they were three years ago
- 78% of brokers are adding products and services to assist employers in managing rising healthcare costs
- 73% of the brokers indicated that employers rely on them for compliance and information reporting
- 63% of the brokers stated the employers they work with turn to them for help with communications materials
- 53% of the brokers indicated that employers rely on them for help managing open enrollment
It’s certainly indicative of the times, as healthcare is increasingly a priority, that everyone from employer to broker must be flexible enough to adjust to a changing healthcare landscape.
However, a separate survey of 502 benefit brokers by Alegeus found that 68% perceive themselves to be fluent in consumer-driven health benefits, but only 39% of brokers are given advanced training.
Brokers must make sure that the third-parties they are counting on for advice have the training and knowledge necessary to provide their clients with guidance that will work, not just words that sound good.