A disturbing new trend among certain carriers may make it more difficult for plan sponsors and their broker/consultants to discharge their plan responsibilities. As we all know, one of the key value propositions that an insurance broker provides to his/her clients is information and counseling designed to permit the plan sponsors to make decisions that are in the best interest of the plans and their participants.

For dental plans and other arrangements, this has meant researching the plan design, network, and claims history to identify whether an alternative carrier might offer a product that offers better value for the premium paid. Although the client is always responsible for the final decision, the broker’s experience, assessment of available data, relationships, and knowledge are essential to clients in making these decisions. The recommendations given to the client are based significantly on empirical data from a current carrier, which includes comparing rates and offerings from other carriers. Doing such comparison delivers pertinent information without bias to help estimate plan savings to clients. Carriers have traditionally offered this information without any conditions or strings attached; however, brokers in some cases are recently being notified by carriers that the delivery of this critical information is now subject to some very limiting conditions.

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