Whether you are looking for a new employee benefit plan or renewing your current plan, careful preparation can make your benefit plan renewals more effective. Being prepared means knowing your situation and what alternatives exist, to select the best plan for your company and employees. Consider the following when planning your benefit plan renewals.
UNDERSTAND THE EXTERNAL MARKET
- Check your plan’s financial strength by consulting resources that publish strength ratings for medical and supplemental insurance carriers, such as Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.
- Check external quality of care reviews performed by independent organizations such as the NCQA (ncqa.org) or The Joint Commission (www.jointcommission.org).
- Evaluate the impact of your plan’s diversified portfolio, multiple product lines or lack thereof.
- Determine your plan’s level of knowledge, experience, underwriting expertise and plan design options.
MAINTAIN, UNDERSTAND AND USE YOUR DATA
- Review claims quarterly if you are experience rated.
- Maintain a rolling 24 months of information and a history of all plan changes.
- Compare actual experience to prior renewal projections.
- Request renewal projections from your carrier.
- Analyze claims data to find cost-saving opportunities for your plan.
BENCHMARK YOUR PLANS
- Ask your broker for benchmark data to compare your plan to other companies, based on several factors:
- Average annual cost for employees
- Average monthly employee contributions
- Deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, out-of-pocket maximums, value-adds etc.
EVALUATE YOUR CURRENT CARRIER
- Evaluate the following factors about your carrier and what they can offer:
- Financial – including discounts delivered, return on investment on disease management and wellness programs, and ability to offer new products
- Service – including employee surveys, online services to assist in plan administration and communication pieces for employees
- Network – including in-network access and usage level, quality and tools for measurement, key additions and deletions, and disruption study
CONSIDER NEW WAYS TO LEVERAGE COSTS
- Consider plan design changes such as raising deductibles, implementing a tiered prescription drug plan design, combining benefits into a unified plan, or increasing employee cost sharing in other limited ways.
- Complete a dependent eligibility audit.
- Implement disease management or wellness initiatives, or expand upon existing programs.
- Offer additional employee education regarding benefits consumerism and making informed benefit decisions.
OUTSOURCE OR CALL FOR HELP
Many brokers and consultants, like FBS, are well versed in the competitive market of employee benefits. They have the tools and expertise needed to help you put your offerings out to bid using a Request for Proposals (RFP) system, negotiate rates, and make recommendations on the best plan options for your employees. If you are looking for help with any part of your employee benefit package, contact us to speak to a consultant.