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

Some brokers have been able to steer clients toward calmer waters where year-over-year spending has decreased or stayed stagnant, but others have unfortunately sailed them right into the eye of the storm, where premiums increase anywhere from 5 percent to 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 the years, become very much cut and dried, copy-paste variations of one another, almost all of them with ever-increasing price tags. As a result, brokers have had a difficult time identifying and presenting both old and new clients with creative, competitive plans. And as one plan often isn’t all that different from another, it’s been more tempting for them to keep employers on existing plans than to have them implement a new one.

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