It’s clear that the health benefits industry is undergoing an evolution, which benefits advisers are fast turning into a revolution. For the past several years, insurance carriers have steadily increased rates, offering all kinds of incentives to advisers to keep as many employers on their plan as possible. Now, advisers are pushing back. They’re done with insurers’ games and backwards incentives. They’re wising up to the growing risks for their clients, and are looking to provide them with the newest ways to thwart them.

It’s common practice to check in with clients all the time, but is frequency outweighing quality? Do your newsletters feel salesy? When was the last time you spoke to a client on the phone, outside of benefits season and the enrollment process? If you’re not already providing valuable, accurate information on a consistent basis, consider evaluating your communication strategies and look for opportunities to improve.

Building strong relationships with clients not only boosts your credibility; it also provides an open channel to help your clients reach their goals. When you keep your clients updated on the latest updates and fluctuations in the benefits and rates on the market, they’re better informed to make decisions that best serve their employees. Advisers who are ready and available to consult with employers on everything — from whether to become self-insured, to which plan is best suited to the unique needs of a particular organization’s workforce — have a strong advantage.

It might sound scary, but forward-looking consultants have chosen to put some of their own compensation at risk based on performance. That means they elect to be paid a percentage of the money they save the client — talk about a change in priorities and incentives. Naturally, incentives need to be balanced with health outcomes. Happily, we find the best way to slash healthcare costs is to improve health benefits and outcomes. Putting this pressure on yourself will ultimately help you stand out for your credibility and confidence in your craft. You know what’s best for your clients, and you’re ready to prove it.

By designing packages to improve our broken healthcare system, innovative benefits consultants can help clients save thousands of dollars. In particular, plans that prioritize value-based primary care (instead of the status quo fee-for-service models) are quickly gaining traction. Instead of rewarding physicians for the number of visits and services, these plans take into account the quality of care and patient experience. Wise benefits consultants leave behind the tyranny of low expectations — i.e., that merely delivering a less bad premium increase is delivering value. In fact, the top-performing benefits consults deliver plans that save 20 to 40% on a per capita basis over status quo plans while improving benefits. Among their realizations is that the underlying costs of healthcare haven’t fundamentally changed — doctors and nurses aren’t getting paid twice what they were paid 10 years ago, for instance.

Selecting plans that focus on preventive care and directing patients to the highest value specialists can help avert crises, and supporting evidence-based treatments like physical therapy can keep your clients’ employees from becoming victims of our current opioid over-prescription epidemic. Instead of pouring funds into costly and often unnecessary procedures, you can help your clients — and their employees — stay healthy and save money.