Canadians have made it clear that employee-provided group benefits are important to them. According to a 2008 survey, ninety-four percent of employees felt that their employer cared about them because they spent time and resources on health benefits, it shows that they care. Since group benefits remain an important component of the workplace what considerations should be made if an employer feels that the time has come to switch their group benefits provider?
1. Is There Transparency With the Current Plan?
When it comes to the health of your employees and their families, it is imperative that you make sure that your chosen provider is completely transparent with the costs that will impact your business. If your claims have stayed the same from year to year but rates have risen, it’s always important to find out why. Employers do not have to simply accept a yearly rate increase at face value, and it often happens that large insurance companies will not offer an explanation beyond inflation.
Beyond monetary transparency, it is important that a provider be up front with you when it comes to their response rate, service hours, claim turnaround time, and any updates or changes in policy or coverage. Be wary of any advisors or plans that don’t take the time to fully review and explain their policy documentation.
2. Is the New Plan Customizable?
Too often, big insurance companies offer only a few set tiers of coverage and may even outsource customer service. When employers choose to work with an independent advisor, they are provided an opportunity to customize solutions that are best for their company. If the current plan is more of a one-size-fits-all model, it may be time to find a plan that more meets your needs; this is especially true if there is no guarantee related to rate increases from year to year.
3. What is Their Level of Customer Service?
There’s no question that group benefits plans can work wonders for employees, but navigating their allowances, restrictions, and claims process can sometimes be a challenge. This is why it’s critical to establish the level of customer service that you can expect from a provider before choosing their services. Will their agents help walk employees through the claims process? What are their hours of service? What happens if you’re travelling out of the country and need to make an emergency arrangements? These small details are just as important to your employees as their coverage is, as the customer service your advisor provides will enable them utilize their benefits to their maximum potential.
Ask the Right Questions Before Making the Switch
If you are dissatisfied with the cost of the coverage or the customer service of your current provider, you may be thinking it’s time to change your group benefits provider. As many as eight million Canadians who work at a small business are without group benefits, and many employers say it has to do with financial concerns and lack of expertise when it comes to choosing a plan.
Working closely with an experienced insurance advisor can help you overcome these hurdles. If you’re looking to make a change to your current benefits plan contact your advisor or call us at 1-877-797-7448.
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