In its most simple form, therole of a benefits broker is to help individuals, especiallyemployers, navigate the murky waters of health plan purchasing.

Some brokers have been able to steer clients toward calmerwaters where year-over-year spending has decreased or stayedstagnant, but others have unfortunately sailed them right into theeye of the storm, where premiums increase anywhere from 5 percentto 20 percent per year with no additional perks.

In the latter scenario, this isn't necessarily the brokers'intention. Carriers' fully-insured health plans have, over theyears, become very much cut and dried, copy-paste variations of oneanother, almost all of them with ever-increasing price tags. As aresult, brokers have had a difficult time identifying andpresenting both old and new clients with creative, competitiveplans. And as one plan often isn't all that different from another,it's been more tempting for them to keep employers on existingplans than to have them implement a new one.

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