Questions You and Your Broker Should Discuss When Reviewing Your Benefits
Vol. 14 No. 9
Providing health insurance to your school’s employees can be tricky, especially when you’re considering making a switch. It can feel a bit like “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t,” making you hesitant to change from your current provider—no matter how much trouble you’ve experienced. This month, we’ve made a checklist of questions for you (and your broker) to ponder while evaluating your insurance carrier and weighing your options.
- Does your current carrier offer health benefits that your faculty and staff need? There are multiple variables in play when reviewing your school's health benefit portfolio. You're looking at cost, overall coverage, network, and premiums. You want a package that reflects your school's culture while protecting your faculty and staff with minimal impact to your financial plan. Start by looking at the benefits you currently offer and last year's claims. Is your plan covering your employee's health needs?
- Are there prospective carriers with comparative premiums to those you’re currently paying? If you're unhappy with your current plan or facing high premium increases, you might find yourself back on the market for coverage packages that match your bottom line and your school's culture. You'll want to weigh all your options with a careful eye. If the competition is offering plans with higher premiums, would you get more coverage or better service? If their premiums are less, will you be losing protection or convenience?
- What about the deductibles? Are they higher or lower than what’s currently being paid, and are they “reasonable” amounts that you expect your employees to be able to pay annually?
- What will the employees’ experience be with the prospective carrier, compared to the school’s current provider? For example, if the prospective carrier facilitates employee HSAs (health savings accounts), does the carrier itself manage the account, or will employees be required to go through a different subsidiary—potentially making the funds more difficult to access?
- Are there online or mobile billing options available? We’re talking about the internet here, and not actually using your phone as a, well, phone.
- Are the prospective insurance company’s representatives competent, kind, and helpful? Will they go the extra mile to help untangle the inevitable mix-ups that happen in a convoluted health care system?
- Does the prospective carrier and its broker understand the dynamics of a private-independent school? School administrators are expected to work more than a “typical” 40-hour work week, for example, which can impact compensation calculations and timing should they be unable to work for extended periods of time—and if the school provided long-term disability coverage.
In closing, remember that insurance is a way in which your school fiscally demonstrates the way it values its employees. Saving your school money may in turn cost you employees, should the benefits not be tailored to fit their needs—fiscal and physical.
Additional ISM resources
The Source for Risk Managers Vol. 6 No. 1 A New Trend in Health Insurance
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members
I&P Vol. 30 No. 12 Employee Benefits for Faculty: Examine Your School’s Contribution to Health Insurance