Hiring the Best Health Insurance Broker for Your Business

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Health Insurance | 0 comments

Hiring the Best Health Insurance Broker for Your Business

As a business owner looking to thrive in your industry, but grow within a budget, it can be an exceedingly difficult task to navigate the myriad health insurance plans for your employees. According to a 2013 study from the census bureau, more than half of all Kentucky employers do not provide their workforces with health insurance. Whether you do not have the time to secure health insurance or simply do not know how, hiring professional assistance from an insurance broker can be invaluable. However, the very first step to securing the best health insurance for your business is to learn how to find reliable brokers and determine which one is the right fit. Here is some information and helpful tips when you are hiring the best insurance broker for your business.

Insurance Brokers

It is prudent to begin by fully understanding what an insurance broker is and how they may differ from captive agents when helping you find employee health insurance. Unlike agents that normally sell from a single company or just one product, brokers are independent companies that sell for several companies. Essentially, they are intermediaries. This means that they are providing a large set of product options as well as a more comprehensive view of the marketplace. You and your broker will work in tandem to evaluate the various plan designs and subsequent pricing from all the pertinent insurance carriers in Kentucky.

One of the most important factors to weigh when considering a prospective broker is how they earn their money. While most work on commission for the insurance company that your business decides to buy from, you may also pay a broker a flat fee for their services depending on how many employees you have and the number of months you want covered. This simply means that one payment option versus the other might affect how they conduct their business. Though all of them will assure you that commission will not affect their guidance, it is important that you take that into consideration, or perhaps, see if a flat fee is a more viable option.

Background

Once you understand what a broker is and how you would like them to perform, you need to screen applicants accordingly. Every broker and their respective managers should be fully licensed, certified, and registered. Similarly, you should check references and ask around about the broker’s business reputation and track record within the industry. You should also make sure to call Kentucky’s insurance commissioners consumer hotline at 1-800-595-6053 to inquire into their disciplinary records to see if any lawsuits have been filed against them. Additionally, scour the internet for any articles, bad ratings or reviews, or other such red flags that purport anything less than sterling ethics.

Service

After the preliminary screening process is done with, it is time for the real vetting to begin. This begins with you considering each broker, what you expect from the relationship, and whether they are a good fit for your company. Primarily considering their size, scope, business dealings, and quality of service, you should look for a broker that will ideally have one, or a select few, account mangers handling your business. That way you do not waste time being just another name on their client list, and will be treated like they are personally invested in providing a great insurance solution. In a similar vein, it would be advantageous to look for a broker that is willing to work non-traditional hours, can speak to or at least attain the adequate resources to help bilingual employees, as well as have help lines to call for extra customer support.

Expertise

Lastly, your broker must be excellent at providing the solution you want. This means that they are perfectly informed about the marketplace, its current trends, and the latest products that are right for your business. Make sure that they are well versed in all areas and do not have just one main focus that leads to shortcomings in others. Because these are transactional dealings that are largely dictated by health insurance minutia, a broker should understand the finer points of what you and your employees actually need. For example, they should know the breadth of a network inside and out and be able to tell you if a carrier has strong working ties with physicians and health practitioners, or whether they will be easily accessible to your employees. You may also want to inquire into their renewal process and make sure you can get a strategy meeting ninety days prior to the renewal date so you are never surprised by a last minute notice and forced into a fast decision.

As open enrollment season approaches, it is vital that you take proper steps to ensure that your business makes the right decision with your health insurance benefits, be it on your own or with help from a broker. By knowing the difference between a broker and agent and their subsequent payment incentives, checking any brokers’ backgrounds, ensuring that they can service your individual needs, and do it all with excellence, you will have secured the best assistance for you and your employees. If you are still reluctant to invest in health insurance benefits for your employees or have more questions about the matter, you should contact a professional to learn more about how it can help you maintain a reliable and productive workforce and grow your business.