How to harness the power of value-added benefits
As the busy fourth quarter approaches, small group brokers do not want to miss out on opportunities to offer cost-effective, value-added benefits to existing and new health insurance packages. Remembering to build these into your client’s plan options is a smart way to expand your book of business, while providing them with additional services their workers will value and appreciate.
In many instances, small businesses may be inclined to think of health insurance in the most basic terms. This typically translates into “standard” plans that cover baseline medical care such as doctor visits, prescription medications, tests and screenings, treatment services and the occasional trip to the emergency room.
Much of this limited thinking about health insurance tends to be cost-driven. An employer may believe that anything beyond medical coverage is out of reach. Even worse, he or she may not even know that viable options are available for consideration in the first place.
But, with a bit of initiative and a little education, brokers can turn this thinking around to the advantage of both their clients and themselves.
For those working with the right insurance carrier, provider or exchange, there are opportunities for businesses — including those with only a handful of employees — to beef up their health plan packages at affordable rates that involve minimal investment. This means employers can amp up packages to offer options such as dental, vision, life insurance and other ancillary benefits while maintaining profitability.
But, it is up to brokers to educate their small business clients about these types of offerings, and to help them understand reasonably-priced options are available. The brokers who can counsel their clients and help them set up these added benefits will earn trust and create win-win arrangements.
Jump-start the conversation
Here are some of the ways brokers can benefit by jump-starting client conversations about value-added benefits now:
- New business prospecting: Providing access to additional products and services via existing benefit offerings is a great way to grow new lines of business. For example, bundling dental and life insurance into an existing benefits plan allows business owners to create a stronger package that employees are incentivized to participate in and more likely to value.
- Business retention: Reminding clients there are additional products and services available at reasonable costs is a great way to make them happy — and happy customers stay with their agents. Remember to go beyond the more “common” value-adds. For instance, an employer might identify vision insurance as a “nice to have” feature and not even consider the possibility of a flexible spending account option. Brokers who are at-the-ready with available solutions clients may not be aware of can significantly increase their value as a trusted service provider.
- Personalized service: Today’s adviser works in a world where customized service reigns supreme. This can include identifying personalized value-adds such as chiropractic and acupuncture options for employers and their workers. Working with a provider with a built-in perks program, where employees receive regular low-cost discounts to entertainment, local attractions and retailers, is a great way to personalize each and every benefit option. It also delights clients and their employees with different types of unexpected value-adds.
Without a doubt, brokers should keep value-added options top-of-mind when designing tailored programs for small-group businesses looking for the most cost-effective benefits. Those who work collaboratively with employers on programs that offer outside-the-norm benefits and perks will reap the business retention and growth rewards.