If you find yourself humming Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Don’t for Me Lately” when thinking about your health insurance agent it might be time to make a change.  Choosing the right insurance agent is just as important as finding the right plan for you.  If you are considering or currently offer health insurance benefits it is important that your agent or broker can make the process painless for you and your team.  Here are some things to consider when evaluating your agent:

  1. Is my agent shopping the market?

The mission of your broker is simple: find the best possible plan available.  Some brokers have strong relationships with carriers which may make alternative carriers unattractive.  Find an agent that has carrier independence and does not place your insurance based on their bottom line.  Your broker should look for plans that make sense for your budget and overall benefit goals.  In addition, your broker should work to negotiate your benefits at renewal by looking for competitive data.

  1. Is my agent helping implement my plan?

A good broker will hold your hand though the decision making and implementation process.  From shopping the market to paperless enrollment your agent or a member of their team should be there to answer any questions about the process and help as issues arise.  Changing plans can be scary for an employee, especially if they have ongoing medical conditions that require continuous care.  Having an agent that can support your employees through a transition in answering questions about coverage and making sure they receive ID cards is necessary.

  1. Is my agent checking in?

Is the only time you realize you have a health insurance agent when they show up with your yearly renewal?  Does your agent or account executive check in to see how your plan is going or if you have any questions throughout the year?  They should.  Your needs and the needs of your employees are always changing and it is important to have a dedicated person to handle those twists and turns from new enrollments to terminations, address changes to adding dependents, as well as answering questions about how to use your coverage.

  1. Is my agent making sure I am compliant?

Offering employee benefits also means that you have to be up to date on the current laws surrounding those benefits.  Your broker should make sure that you are following the law by keeping you up to date on current regulations as well as letting you know what might be on the political horizon.

  1. Is my agent an extension of my HR department?

Your HR department should feel that your broker is an extension of their team.  In addition, your broker should be providing value added benefit education for your HR team and your employees.  Sometimes employees may have to ask intimate medical questions or not feel comfortable talking to their HR contact about their medical questions.  When employees see your broker team as someone they can trust, those awkward conversations disappear.

Take some time to think through these questions.  At AUI we are proud to say “What have you done for me lately?” is not a question our clients ask.  Our health clients receive regular phone calls from their dedicated customer care team, monthly education from AUI University and our compliance officer, and a detailed and thorough renewal process.  To learn more about the AUI advantage and how it can benefit your team, contact us.