If you’ve contemplated switching to a new employee health benefits provider (and plan) but aren’t sure what’s involved, this is for you. Let’s first break down why you should (or shouldn’t) make the change, then get into the details on what’s actually involved in changing providers.
Why make a change?
If you’ve considered switching to a new employee health benefits plan, chances are you’re probably not completely satisfied with your current provider. There are a number of reasons why you may not be satisfied and why you should make the switch, including:
- Service – If you aren’t getting excellent customer service from your employee benefits provider, you should be. Your provider should be supporting your Plan Administrator in successfully administering the plan. Your Plan Administrator should be receiving timely, friendly, responsive and accurate service and support. If they’re not getting that, it may be time to make a switch.
- Costs – Switching to another provider who is offering “discount” employee benefits at low rates isn’t (by itself) a reason to switch. Usually, these discount plans end up recouping their money with a hefty increase at renewal. BUT, if your costs keep going up and your provider isn’t proposing ways to contain costs, this is a problem. Your provider should be focused on providing a great plan, but also containing costs over the long term.
- Outdated plan – If your current plan closely resembles your plan from 10 years ago, you’ve got a problem. Things change, and your employee health benefits plan should change too. New coverages, new cost containment strategies and new technology should be incorporated into your plan to best support your employee base right now. If the plan is outdated, then you’re not getting the best value for the money you’re investing in benefits.
- Wrong Provider – If your employee benefits plan provider has an approach that does not align with your goals, then you should find a provider whose approach does align. Maybe you’re looking for sustainability and cost control. If your provider is not on board with finding creating ways to address rising costs, then best to find one that is.
Identify goals or outcomes for your plan
Once you’ve come to the decision that it’s time to switch to a new employee health benefits plan, the next step is to identify goals or outcomes for your plan. If you’re going to search out a new provider, you’ll want to be clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. Different companies have different goals for their plan.
Most companies will agree that trying to improve the health of employees is an overarching goal for the plan. Other common goals or outcomes include:
- Reduce absenteeism and presenteeism
- Support recruitment efforts
- Boost employee retainment
- Improve company culture
Best time to switch providers and plans
The other decision related to switching to a new employee health benefits provider is when. Is there a best time of the year to switch? The short answer is no. If you’re not happy with your current plan and provider, then don’t stay with them! The sooner you make the switch, the sooner you’ll start receiving better value for your benefit dollars. There’s no need to wait until renewal or the end of your benefits year to change providers.
Find the right provider and the right plan
The biggest challenge related to switching to a new employee health benefits plan is twofold: find the right provider and find the right plan.
- The Right Provider
The right employee benefits provider can support your goals for the plan. They can also help you articulate what those goals are. When it comes to providers, you can choose to purchase employee benefits directly from an insurer, or you can purchase them from a third-party administrator. If you’re looking for access to products from multiple providers, then working with a third-party administrator is the way to go. A third-party administrator can package the best products from multiple providers and use group buying power to secure great rates. They also specialize in service, so you are likely to get excellent support.
You want a provider with cost control mechanisms in place, and a long-term sustainable focus. The right provider should have excellent systems to support your plan and provide users with a great benefits experience. By choosing the right provider that is a good fit for your organization, you’re setting yourself up to get the right plan for your company.
- The Right Plan
The right employee health benefits plan should include comprehensive coverage. This means all of the most common employee health benefits, but also more. Sought-after benefits like access to an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) and virtual healthcare are just a few examples. Your plan should be adapted to the demographics of your organization. It should provide comprehensive coverage but also include cost containment tactics to protect the sustainability of the plan. In short, both you and your employees should be happy with the plan.
Making the Switch
Switching to a new employee health benefits provider and a new plan may seem daunting, but with the right provider, the switch should be straightforward. The right provider should guide you through the process. They should support you and your Plan Administrator during the enrollment and rollout of the plan.
Look for a provider with online enrollment. Online enrollment is easy and convenient for plan members, but it also significantly decreases the workload for your Plan Administrator. With online enrollment, employees are guided through the enrollment process while learning about their coverage. The Plan Administrator can easily review the progress of enrollments and follow up with those that have not completed their applications.
The bottom line is, if you’ve chosen the right provider, actually making the switch to a new employee health benefits plan should be the easy part.
Good Advice is Key
Are you looking for more out of your plan? Have you considered switching to a new employee health benefits plan and now want to act on it? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in person or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.