Welcome to Part 5 of our Employee Benefits Marketing series – Checklist Items for doing it properly and the myths associated with each step.
The 10 Point Employee Benefits Marketing Checklist was created to equip advisors and employers with effective tools and information that go beyond marketing simply based on price. Our checklist is now available in the CloudAdvisors Solution Library, just search for “CloudAdvisors” or contact an employee benefit specialist who is #poweredbyCloudAdvisors to share with you.
Checklist #5 - Provider Added Value and Quoted Alternatives
Insurance providers take pride in offering value added services to clients (many of which you’ll find highlighted in the CloudAdvisors Solution Library), and these values are often left unknown during customer decision making. Advisors are encouraged to know and endorse the provider’s additional services such as fraud detection, disability management, and overall plan member experience.
So far in our Marketing Checklist items, we have focused on plan and provider issues that could hinder a plan change, but equally, value-added services or future alternatives may help a client positively change to a plan with more to offer. Providers of all sizes will try to offer both competitive rates and plan options such as ASO funding arrangements for different group sizes. Providers can also be regional or national, which can offer different customer support hours and resources for plan members.
A common frustration in marketing is moving a group plan to a new provider for a single alternative or added benefit. This process can be expensive and time-consuming and may be avoidable by challenging the current provider first before agreeing to the change.
As an example, vision coverage is typically only included in 50% of benefit plans but available as an option with nearly all providers. If vision coverage is not included in your plan, it is not the fault of your provider, it is simply a decision made with your employer and advisor.
To prevent marketing and moving plans, simple amendments such as vision coverage can be added at any point throughout the year. Although not all options will be available as an alternative, it is best to compare the total value of a plan along with included value adds to be competitive.
Here are some often overlooked examples of added value:
- Discounts with preferred provider/supplier networks such as pharmacy or vision.
- Embedded programs such as medical second opinion, health navigation, and employee assistance.
- Disability Management Practices such as pre-disability intervention, partial or residual definitions.
- Claiming Experience including plan member mobile apps and easy access to information.
- Risk Management such as fraud detection, intervention, and investigation/
- Access to required coordinated benefits such as expatriate, inpatriate, or individual conversion.
- Available no cost or low-cost optional programs to support wellness and mental health initiatives.
Marketing Myth #5 - Insurance Provider Added-Values are Equivalent and Interchangeable
False. Along with benefit plan policy, the added values of the provider may not be equivalent or necessarily interchangeable. Insurance Providers may appear comparable with similar quotes, and even coverage but certain options or flexibilities may be lost or gained in a transition.
Added values should be identified during comparison and evaluated alongside factors such as cost savings. Certain added value programs may be available as a bolt on or stand alone option at a different cost or an entirely different provider may be available as the integrated offer (such as EAP). Employers without this insight may inadvertently lose value they cannot recover, or miss an opportunity to make a more informed decision and see what’s included with the basic premium.