Price tags By looking beyond thesticker price of your advisor you can create a chain of positiveimpacts that radiate throughout your business for years to come.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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When business owners start searching for benefits brokers, many are(rightfully) focused on cost. They see their health care costsrising every year with no improvement in the quality of theirbenefits, and, desperate to save money, they decide to work with abroker who charges less for their services than competing advisors.This decision may seem financially wise in the short-term, but overtime, this choice can result in missed opportunities to savemoney.

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If you want to achieve significant savings on your benefitsplan, here's why you should look beyond your advisor's stickerprice:

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More for your money

Benefits brokers are traditionally viewed as a necessity ratherthan an opportunity. Most business owners' interactions withbrokers are limited, meeting with them only when it's time to renewtheir plan and signing yet another expensive contract.

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Your advisor can offer you so much more than traditional brokerswould have you believe. Rather than acting as a bare-bonesmiddleman between you and your insurance company, a great advisorcan work with you to provide:

  • Employee education – Your advisor can helpteach your employees how to use their benefits plant to maximizetheir quality of care while minimizing costs to them and you.
  • Supply chain management – By analyzing thehealth care supply chain at every level, your advisor can findevery available opportunity to create savings for you.
  • Year-round support – Your interactions with abenefits advisor don't stop once your contract is renewed. Instead,they work with you throughout the year to adjust your plan based onthe changes in your business.

A great benefits advisor may charge more than traditionalbrokers, but those costs will likely reflect the valuable servicesthey offer.

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Price vs. cost

Imagine that you find and decide to work with an advisor whosesticker price is four times as high as their competitors'. Youelect to work with the more “expensive” advisor, while anothercompany in your industry selects the “less expensive” broker. Youradvisor gets to know your business inside and out, strategizingwith your C-suite to identify your company's needs and examiningthe areas in which you may be overpaying for health care goods andservices. They help you create direct savings, which are thenfunneled back into the company to help purchase new equipment andincrease employee wages. Your production increases, and youremployees (who are now paid more, receive better care, and feelvalued by their employer) are happier at work, decreasing yourturnover rates.

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Your competitor, on the other hand, finds that their savingsdon't go beyond what they're paying their broker. They and theiremployees continue to pay more for their benefits plan year afteryear. They retain surface-level interactions with their broker, whocontinues to provide surface-level services. Funds that could havebeen spent on their employees or other areas of their business areinstead spent on over-inflated health care prices, and theirfrustrated workers start searching for other employers who couldoffer them better compensation for their expertise.

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By looking beyond the sticker price of your advisor you cancreate a chain of positive impacts that radiate throughout yourbusiness for years to come.

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Service that pays for itself

As you meet with brokers and advisors to discuss prices andservices, consider not only the services they offer, but also ifthe amount they save you could be even greater than what theycharge. Your advisor should be working with your best interests inmind, and they should assure you of their intentions with aperformance guarantee. If your savings potential aligns with theirearning potential, you can remain sure that they'll be doingeverything possible to search for opportunities to save youmoney.

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The savings you acquire from a great advisor can go beyondjustifying their cost—they can essentially pay for the advisor'sservices on their own. The initial price tag can encompass avariety of tools and expertise that can create savings that otherbrokers wouldn't even bother to look for.

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A cost that creates savings

Like your plan itself, your benefits advisor shouldn't betreated as a one-off expense. Your advisor is an investment foryour business, and spending a bit more to choose the right one canlead to better service, better savings, and a better overallbusiness. Don't let high advisor charges steer you towardlower-quality broker services—your company deserves the verybest.


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Jim Blachek is co-founderof The Benefits Group.

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