News 7/27/2017

BenefitsPro: Employers Want Brokers’ Help with Costs, Engagement: Survey

More than ever, 120 health insurance brokers are serving as “strategic consultants” to their clients, particularly as the health care benefit arena continues to be cloudy.

That’s according to the report, “Strategies and Service Innovation Shaping Brokers’ Transformation from Sales Representatives to Strategic Benefits Consultants,” by DirectPath.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based benefits management software provider surveyed 120 health insurance brokers and found that 83 percent report that employers look to them to manage health care spending.

Because of that, 78 percent have added new products and services in the past year to help their clients control health care costs.

“Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing regulatory climate, employers require more guidance than ever before in developing an effective health care benefits strategy,” the authors write. “Brokers, historically viewed as benefits sales representatives, are recognizing the opportunity to better serve these employers as strategic consultants.”

To enhance their services, three-quarters (75 percent) of the respondents say they offer engagement, advocacy and transparency services.

Employee engagement is the most demanded by employers and most valued by brokers, and transparency services are the least demanded by employers and least valued by brokers.

“Though current demand for transparency and advocacy services is lower than for employee engagement, we may see this dynamic shift as education around the value of advocacy and transparency services increases and as the offerings become more popular among brokers, employers and employees,” the authors write.

Brokers are also seeing value from services relating to voluntary benefits and ERISA/ACA compliance, according to the report.

Seventy-nine percent see value from voluntary benefits services, while 84 percent of respondents reported seeing value from their compliance services.

“By combining innovative services with their deep expertise in the health care benefits landscape, brokers will be better positioned to assist employers during peak demand periods — like open enrollment — and to take on a more strategic role as an essential extension of their client’s HR teams throughout the year,” the authors write.

Read the article here.

(Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a writer for BenefitsPro.)

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