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

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

Read: 10 tips on innovation and disruption

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

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

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical 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 events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.



Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.