Advisers should step up when it comes to employee healthcare education
NEW ORLEANS — Fixing a flawed healthcare system is one thing brokers, advisers and employers can all agree on, but making impactful changes will require a shift in how advisers interact with their clients and employee populations.
“We need to build health plans that incentivize employees to make better healthcare choices based on quality,” Jim Blachek, CEO of Dynamic Benefit Solutions, said during Employee Benefit Adviser’s Workplace Benefits Renaissance conference. “There’s an anomaly in healthcare: you spend more money and you get [poor] care.”
Advisers and brokers tend to focus their pitches on what they can provide as opposed to what the employees actually need, Blachek said. As the owner of his own advising practice, it took his own traumatic experience for him to recognize the importance of putting the employee first.
In 2013, Blachek was celebrating his business’ success at a remote ski area with some friends when he got a devastating phone call from home. His 22-year-old son had died by suicide. For the next two and a half years, Blachek said he was his own company’s worst employee and fully expected his business to fail. But what happened instead was eye-opening.
“When I stepped out, my employees stepped up,” he said. “My employees saved our business. This lesson applies to [advisers] because without the employees of your clients, you have no book of business.”
With that in mind, Blachek encouraged advisers to ask, what they are doing to help employees better access the healthcare system, get better quality service and lower costs?
Education is a key strategy, he says. Advisers need to put in the time to educate their clients’ employees on a year round basis while getting them to utilize these tools and benefits.
“When we guide employees, we help them make better healthcare decisions and when we do, the employer saves money,” Blachek said. “If the employee doesn’t understand what we’re doing, if they don’t utilize the tools, if they don’t use the apps or call a concierge then everything we do as advisers is not going to work.”