Benefits tech platform concept Ifyou feel pressured to change your benefits plan simply because yourrenewal is approaching, consider holding off until you feel ready(Image: Shutterstock)

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The calendar for a typical benefits plan is usually prettyunremarkable: your broker meets with you at the end of the year todiscuss your renewal, at which point you canhave a discussion about changes that should be made in yourbenefits plan. Then, you sign off on your plan for another year anddon't speak with your broker until it's time to renew onceagain.

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This practice has been the industry standard for years, but witha great benefits advisor, your business can depart from the statusquo and, in the process, build a benefits plan that functions atyour speed. By forgetting the notion that all changes to your planhave to be made at the end of the year, you and your advisor canconstruct a plan that evolves with your business while alleviatinga source of unnecessary stress for you.

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Related: 4 major trends in health benefits plandesign

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Here's why you shouldn't feel pressured to make all the changesto your benefits plan at a specific time of the year:

Removal of the rush

Your benefits plan is one of your largest business expenses, and it deserves tobe treated as such. Just as you wouldn't hurry into buying a houseor a car without carefully considering all your options, your planshould be thoroughly analyzed before you simply accept proposedchanges to it at the end of the year.

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If you feel pressured to change your benefits plan simplybecause your renewal is approaching, consider holding off until youfeel ready to make the changes your advisor believes your planneeds. You can make changes to your plan at any time during theyear, and there's no reason to force them all to happen at one timeif your business isn't ready for them yet.

Timing that works for you

A great benefits plan isn't one-size-fits-all. Your advisorshould be working to create a plan that's uniquely tailored to yourcompany's needs, and that includes making changes when yourbusiness needs them. Making changes at the end of the year istypical for brokers who follow the traditional standards that saythat the same plan can work for numerous vastly differentbusinesses, but the truth is that you can change parts of your planat any point during the year.

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Your advisor should be working with you year-round to monitorhow your business evolves. As they get to know your company and howit's growing, they'll be able to give you recommendations on whatchanges to make and when. This personalized advice can help youalter your plan the right way, avoiding risky changes being madetoo soon or necessary changes being made too late.

A holiday tradition you can forget

The holidays are a stressful enough time for business owners(and their employees). In addition to dealing with all of theend-of-the-year challenges for your company – one of which is yourplan renewal itself – you may also be focused on staff holidayparties, employees getting eager about time off, and your ownpersonal holiday preparations outside of the workplace. The end ofthe year is a busy, but exciting time, and feeling like you need toadd benefits plan changes to your already packed schedule may justadd unnecessary weight to your shoulders.

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By avoiding the holiday business bustle, you can save your planchanges for a time before or after one of the most stressfulperiods of the year. Don't feel pressured to make big decisionsabout your plan during a time when you should be looking forward toseeing your family and celebrating the emergence of a new year. Ifthe tradition of end-of-the-year changes isn't for you, you haveanother eleven months to make big decisions about your plan.

The right time for the right plan

Whether you feel that waiting to make changes or avoiding thewait is right for your plan, you should never feel pressured intochanging your plan at a certain time of the year just because it'show it's always been done in the benefits industry. In fact, morecustomized timing can remove additional stress from the holidayseason while helping you build a plan that works better for yourbusiness specifically. Like many other aspects of traditionalbenefits plans, the status quo for changing up a company's planisn't always the best strategy, and your advisor can help you makechanges when you need them the most.

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Jim Blachek flipped his traditional brokerage model in 2017to focus solely on consulting and building value based healthplans. In 2019 he co-founded a consulting only firmDynamic Benefit Solutionsand founded Local Script atransparent pharmacy and marketing organization focused on reducingemployer and employee costs while supporting the localcommunity.


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