Your benefits consultant should be working closely with the HR team, learning their business and providing education and support to make decisions easier. They should also be monitoring claims and renewals to ensure rates are competitive and cost effective. But, for one brand-name pharmaceutical manufacturer, working with a big-name benefits broker left them feeling like a small fish in a large—and very expensive—pond.
A PLAN ON AUTOPILOT
Like most, this employer’s health plan was one of their largest expenses with nearly 300 members enrolled. But, with the complexity of health plan regulation and the many responsibilities competing for the attention of the small HR team, they trusted their broker to guide them in the right direction.
The broker only offered two check-in meetings per year to review the plan and minimal employee education and communication assets. Nonetheless, employees were largely pleased with the network and coverage.
But their premium rates were steadily increasing at an average rate of 10% annually, even as claims stayed the same. This concerned the HR team, but they lacked the resources to fully explore it.
TURNING THE CORNER
What started as a quick, introductory call from a Corporate Synergies team member turned into an ongoing conversation about employee benefits literacy. The team answered some of the HR department’s long-standing questions and provided educational materials. Eventually, this conversation led to an audit of their existing plan.
The audit revealed a large premium excess—meaning the employer was paying premium rates far beyond their claims, leaving behind more than $2.2 million over five years. This type of mismatch indicates a lack of negotiation by the broker on behalf of the employer during renewal, and a lack of transparency into the process for the employer to hold them accountable.
THE CORPORATE SYNERGIES DIFFERENCE
In rebuilding their plan, Corporate Synergies took everything into account. For example, as a pharmaceutical company, the employer had existing relationships with several of the insurance carriers, which required careful handling.
The team enhanced the old plan’s coverage and network with a different, more price-competitive carrier at a 32% lower medical premium. Additionally, the plan design team established a shared surplus program that paid back up to 50% of unused premium in dividends.
Working with Corporate Synergies not only saved the pharmaceutical manufacturer money on their premium, it also included more regular check-ins with their consultant, employee advocacy through BenefitsVIP, personalized employee education materials and an open line of communication for transparency during negotiations.
That employee education started on day one when the account management team explained the reasons for the switch, the financial benefit and how employees can take advantage of their coverage. This included a branded employee benefits smartguide that highlighted areas of change and available one-on-one assistance.
Employees were happy to see a drop in premium prices and an increase in help during enrollment. The HR team was glad to have some of the administrative burden lifted and a broker that felt like part of the team.