Blog 3/2/2022

In the War for Talent, Employee-Centric Benefits Programs Are a Powerful Differentiator. Here’s How Brokers Can Help Employers.

In today’s increasing competitive employment marketplace, employers recognize that, more than ever before, their benefits packages are key to their retention and recruitment strategies. Too often, however, they lack the bandwidth to balance plan administration, recruiting demands and new regulations with the need to map out a communication strategy and implement year-round benefits education.

This pressure to effectively communicate their benefits offerings means your employer clients are relying on you—their broker partners—even more heavily for guidance.

DirectPath surveyed brokers on their expanding roles, including which services they are currently offering to deliver the most business value to clients, and how their models are likely to evolve to help them compete in the coming year.

Rising Health Care Costs and New Regulations Focus Interest on Price Transparency

The health care system is often challenging for individuals to navigate on their own. To find the right care at an affordable cost, employees are increasingly turning to their benefits sponsors—their employers—for guidance on how to not only choose, but best use, their health plans. In turn, employers are looking to brokers for help. In fact, 77% of brokers reported seeing moderate to high demand for health care transparency and advocacy support in the past year.

Despite recent (and upcoming) regulations requiring hospitals, providers and even health plans to share pricing information, most employees aren’t aware these resources exist, have no idea how to access them, and are unclear on what to do with the information once they get it. Brokers can help by connecting employers with independent advocacy services, which can help employees make sense of and compare costs. Eighty-six percent of brokers already provide some sort of health care transparency and clinical advocacy services or have a trusted partner to provide these services, a 6% increase from 2021. By connecting employees with these services, brokers help employers – and their employees–avoid unnecessary health care costs and help foster employee loyalty and engagement.

Develop Benefits Communications

As employers look for new ways to entice talent, 95% of brokers say they see more demand from employer clients for help with benefits communications. Getting employees to take action— to review their current elections, to enroll in their benefits, to read about and understand how a plan works or a new regulation will affect them—requires communications that don’t just inform but change a perception or a behavior.

The vast majority (72%) of brokers report that they offer the full gamut of communications support, including materials, virtual presentations, in-person support, and vendor recommendations.

The role of brokers has never been more critical in helping employers design benefits strategies that not only curb costs but also attract and retain top talent. From keeping employees—and, by extension, their employers—from overspending on coverage and care, to educating employees on benefits basics to promoting educational and advocacy resources in an increasingly digital and fragmented work environment, brokers must leverage their expertise and resources to respond to their clients’ ever-changing needs. Read the full report to learn the other ways brokers are helping employers navigate the changing health care landscape, from compliance to price transparency.

Kim Buckey, Vice President, Client Services, DirectPath

The 2022 Broker Report: Helping Employers Attract & Retain Talent Amidst the “Great Resignation”
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