Not too long ago, I was on atrip where we were dropped off in the ocean, out in open water, togo snorkeling. When I agreed to the whole idea, I thought we wouldbe in three or four feet of water, max. Never did I envision beingso vulnerable and so far out there. To say that I was terrified isan understatement. The mantra that kept repeating in my mind was:Stick close to those in the water with me and I'll be safer. Iguess the thought of many of us being the victims of a shark attackfelt better than just me.

|

As humans, we feel a strong desire to be part of the pack. Wecompare ourselves to others in order to determine our own worth. Ifwe see someone who has a better car, we think they are moresuccessful than us. When we see someone who is heavier than us, wethink “Huh, maybe I'm not in as bad of shape as I think I am.” Werationalize irrational ideas and notions.

|

Read: 10 tips on innovation anddisruption

|

In my role as a benefits consultant, I find that nearly threequarters of my prospects will ask me how their plan compares toother employers of the same industry. Yes, benchmarking surveysmeasure basic elements of a plan design, like co-pays,co-insurance, and deductibles. But sometimes, I feel like sharing abenchmark survey would be misleading. Why? Because there are a lotof employers with (excuse my French) sh*tty plans right now. If I'mtelling an employer, “Yes, you're keeping up with the trend,”they'll think that's a good thing. And frankly, it's not. It meansthey've increased deductibles, cost shared more expenses with theiremployees, and increased premium contributions for the employees'families, just like other companies have.

|

It's really hard to tell a company, “Comparatively speaking, youare on pace with everyone else,” and then in the next breath, tellthem why they should want to be doing better than everyone else.The best measure of success for a health plan is perceived value.Are employees getting the best quality of care at the lowest cost?What are their outcomes? There is no benchmark survey that willshow this statistic. No survey will be able to show waived co-paysfor employees who make smart fiscal decisions that save themselvesand their companies money. They don't show an employerincentivizing employees with things like free diapers and wipes for a year for a newbaby.

|

I struggle with the idea of benchmarking, because it's not atrue indication of employees' overall happiness with the plan. Andthe unfortunate truth is that although the grand majority ofemployers would agree with this, most aren't willing to veer fromthe pack and do something different that could potentially bebetter.

|

When I was initially dropped off at a 30 foot deep reef and wasbattling my fear, the thing I didn't appreciate was that I wouldhave an opportunity to see more fish. Yet, there was a greaterpotential risk, but the reward was far greater.

|

Employers need to start thinking of themselves as separate fromthe pack and realizing that they can have a different experience —one that can be far different than other similar companies. But onethat is far better.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.