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Employee Benefits

How Specialists Can Help Your Adviser Cook Up The Perfect Benefits Plan

Building a high-quality, cost-effective benefits plan requires putting a lot of pieces together in exactly the right way, and when you’re searching for an adviser, you should look for someone who knows how those pieces fit best for your business. A great adviser won’t assume that they know everything about every aspect of the healthcare industry, but they will know how to find the right industry experts and bring them together to build unique solutions for your company.

Here’s why you should always work with an adviser who wants to build the perfect benefits team:


The healthcare industry is a massive, complex machine with countless moving parts. A great adviser will know how all those parts work together to help the machine function properly, but they’re unlikely to know everything about the parts themselves.

This concept is the same in virtually any other field as well. A bakery manager, for example, knows how to make customers happy by combining great food with great service. In the kitchen, though, the bakers are the ones mixing the right ingredients together and heating them at the perfect temperature for the perfect amount of time. And of course, the bakers’ success relies on the skills and knowledge of the people growing the ingredients and manufacturing the ovens.

Just like customers at a bakery, your job as an employer isn’t to worry about all the smaller processes going on in the background of your benefits plan. If you have a great adviser, they’ll put the perfect team together so you can relax and enjoy the final product.


Your adviser doesn’t need to know how to perform surgery in order to be great at their job. Instead, they should be experts in connecting the healthcare specialists who can optimize the quality of your plan. This means that your adviser should be able to:

  • Be aware of the areas in which they need specialists’ advice
  • Know where to look for subject matter experts
  • Understand how to apply the specialists’ advice to reduce costs and improve the quality of your plan

This is why finding an adviser who understands the healthcare supply chain is crucial to the success of your own plan. By seeking out the right experts and being willing to team up with them, your adviser can create a team of specialists who can maximize the positive impact of your plan at every point, from pharmaceuticals to benefits administration to primary care.


Don’t be fooled by brokers who claim to be experts in every area of the benefits industry. In fact, being unwilling to ask questions or seek outside help should be a major red flag in your search for an adviser. Can you imagine the chaos if the aforementioned bakery manager tried to fix a faulty oven instead of calling in a trained repairman? A broker who makes decisions about your plan without consulting specialists could have the same effect on your plan, burning up your savings opportunities and charring the quality of your employees’ care.

Advisers who search for specialists to partner with are simply ensuring that you get the very best from your plan. The healthcare supply chain is long and complicated, and your adviser will have more success managing it effectively if they can consult with the experts within it.


Being willing to admit when expert advice is needed can be one of the most important qualities your adviser can have. By identifying how specialists could help your plan and making the right connections, your adviser avoids the toxic trap of assuming that their existing knowledge is all that’s needed to optimize your plan. The end result is likely to be a pretty sweet plan for both your business and your employees.

Contact us today to learn more about how teaming up with healthcare specialists can help your adviser make the most out of your plan.

Employee Benefits

Why Understanding Your Adviser’s Mission is Crucial to an Effective Benefits Plan

Many business owners see their benefits plan as just another annual expense. The truth, however, is that your company’s plan is a deeply personal investment, and your adviser should treat it as such. When choosing to work with an adviser, you and your business deserve better than whichever broker can offer you the “least expensive” increase on your renewal. Instead, find out what your prospective adviser’s mission is, and see if it aligns with your goals. If you and your adviser see eye to eye on what your plan should be doing for your employees, the results could include dramatic growth for your business over time.

Here’s why you should always learn about your adviser’s mission before deciding to work with them:

Prioritizing People

While, yes, your plan should help you create savings to help your business grow, your adviser should be focused on building a benefits plan that takes care of your employees. At its core, the healthcare industry is about keeping people healthy, and your adviser should be focused on creating a plan that reflects that by providing care that’s:

  • High-quality – Your adviser shouldn’t cut corners just to save you money if it means compromising your employees’ health.
  • Affordable – Great care is only great if your employees can get it without sacrificing their financial wellbeing in the process.
  • Accessible – If your employees can’t use their benefits because their providers are too far away or they’re worried about taking time off work to go to the doctor, their health may suffer as a result.

Choosing an adviser who sees your employees’ health and happiness as the ultimate goal can make a huge difference in how your plan impacts your business, and you should establish whether or not your employees are part of their mission before signing a contract.

The Same Vision

Even if you and your adviser have the same overarching goals in mind, you may still be a poor fit for each other. Once you’ve established that you and your adviser are on the same page regarding why you want to build a better benefits plan, you should have a discussion about what it’s going to take to achieve those goals. Talk about what your other goals are for your business. How do you want to see it grow? How much will your adviser be involved in the process? How much are you willing to change your current plan to see the results you’re hoping for?

This can be a tough conversation to have with a prospective adviser, but it will reveal whether you see eye-to-eye on how your benefits plan can be used as a strategic advantage for your business. For example, if a prospective broker is only willing to meet with you once a year when it’s time to renew your plan, it can indicate that they’re not as invested in their mission as they need to be to help your business grow. However, if you meet with an adviser who proves that they’re dedicated to their mission by meeting with you throughout the year and offering a performance guarantee, you may be on the right track to forming a great benefits team.

Vision, Mission, Values.

A Plan You Can Get Behind

Making sure you and your adviser are walking the same path isn’t just important so you feel comfortable about who you’re working with – it’s crucial to making your benefits plan as effective as possible. Even if your adviser provides you with the best tools and strategies they have at their disposal, they won’t work if you and your employees don’t buy in to what your adviser tells you.

By making sure you and your adviser have the same mission, you’ll feel more comfortable following your adviser’s recommendations. Your employees will then follow your example and become more engaged in their plan, using the tools your adviser provides to help create savings for both themselves and the business. By simply working with an adviser whose mission you believe in, you can create a chain reaction that can help your business save tens of thousands of dollars every year.

Putting Passion Into Your Plan

A broker who sees your plan as nothing but paperwork and dollar signs can’t take your business where you want it to go. By working with an adviser who prioritizes your employees’ care and has the same goals for your plan as you do, you’ll be on your way to having a benefits plan that you and your employees will be eager to work with, setting your workers and your company up for success.

Contact us today to learn more about how an adviser who fits your business can give you a benefits plan you can believe in.

Employee Benefits

How A Positive Approach Can Help You Solve Your Benefits Challenges

When you’re spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on benefits and seeing unimpressive results, being discouraged and disappointed is completely reasonable. Great healthcare has the potential to bring a lot of positive effects to your business, including improved employee retention rates, better talent recruitment, and reduced absenteeism. In order to receive the maximum impact, though, you need to stop settling for what your current benefits plan is and start imagining what it could be.

A positive mindset is one of the most important qualities an employer can possess when searching for ways to improve their plan, and here’s why:


In life and in the benefits industry, you should never settle for less than you deserve. That’s just what many business owners are doing when it comes to their benefits plans, though. For years, employers have endured paying 5-6 percent more for their plans with each renewal, even though the quality of their plan has stayed the same or even decreased. There are better options out there, but many business owners remain stuck in this benefits rut, convinced that this standard is truly the best that they can get.

In order to achieve better outcomes for your plan (and your business), you must first decide that you, your employees, and your company deserve better than the suboptimal status quo that so many employers settle for. By raising the bar for what you want out of your benefits plan, you take the first step towards turning your plan’s potential into an improved reality.


Teaming up with the right benefits adviser is crucial for a benefits plan that can help your business grow. Your adviser’s emphasis on a positive outlook for your plan is just as important as your own desire to search for better options, and you should never settle for a broker who tries to convince you that the plan you have is the best you can get.

An optimistic adviser will:

  • Listen to and understand your current challenges – Understanding your starting point is the first step to moving forward, and a great adviser will take the time to learn about your current struggles so they can offer a personalized solution instead of a one-size-fits-all “fix.”
  • Offer creative and innovative solutions – Big improvements usually require big changes. A broker who suggests small tweaks for your plan may sound like the safer option, but the results they deliver will likely keep your plan stagnant.
  • Provide flexibility – As your business evolves over time, so should your benefits plan. An adviser with a positive outlook will constantly be looking for ways for you to get the most out of your plan, and that means working with you year-round, not just when it’s time to renew.

By working with an adviser who shares your own hope for your benefits plan, you take a huge step closer to a plan that can become a strategic advantage for your business.


Your adviser may not be able to solve all your employees’ medical problems on their own, but they can provide tools to both improve the quality of their healthcare and make it more affordable. In order to optimize their solutions, though, you need to be able to:

  • Be open to unconventional ideas
  • Trust their approach
  • Implement their tools and strategies

The path to a benefits plan that can help your business reach its full potential can only be paved with a willing, enthusiastic attitude from both you and your adviser. If your adviser can develop a plan and you can take the necessary steps to implement it into your business, you’ll be well on your way to giving your employees high-quality, cost-effective care that can drastically improve their quality of life.


Don’t despair when low-quality, high-cost benefits are no longer sustainable for your business. Instead, get excited about all the possibilities an improved benefits plan could offer your company. By rejecting the status quo in the benefits industry, working with an adviser who has high hopes for your future, and being willing to implement the tools and strategies they provide you, you can transform your plan from a burdensome expense into a great strategic opportunity. The desire for better benefits can blossom into one of the best decisions you could make for your business.

Contact us today to learn more about how a positive outlook on your benefits plan can manifest into big savings.

Employee Benefits

Why You Need To Be Open To Change To Improve Your Benefits Plan

Changing the norm can be scary in any industry. In healthcare, however, it’s practically unwelcome. Business owners have continuously accepted the norm in benefits spending, paying more every year without seeing a noticeable increase in the quality of their benefits. This practice would be swiftly rejected in any other industry, but many business owners are more comfortable continuing to waste money on ineffective plans than saving money by changing the way they handle their benefits plan.

If you’re unhappy with your current plan, but hesitant to try something new, here’s why you should open your mind to big changes for your plan:

Unsustainable Outcomes

Health insurance costs have been steadily rising for years now, even as the quality of benefits employers receive stays the same or even decreases. Benefits are already one of the largest expenses for most businesses as it is, and if their costs continue to increase by 5 or 6 percent (as they have in recent years), employers will have to find a better solution or risk being run out of business by unaffordable benefits.

Many business owners, however, prefer to deal with the so-called “devil they know” than risk the potential consequences of big changes in their plan. By working with an adviser who offers innovative solutions to the problems associated with status-quo benefits plans, you can put yourself ahead of the competition while avoiding the dreaded annual cost increases that come with most of today’s benefits plans. You’ll just need to be open to the idea of change.

A Plan Your Employees Can Use

A benefits plan that’s “great” on paper, but unaffordable to your employees, is not a great plan at all. Many employers have been led to believe that the plans their brokers are selling them are designed with their employees in mind. In reality, though, many employees may be unable to use any of their plan due to:

  • Low savings – In 2017, GoBankingRates found that over half of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. With not much money left for emergencies, many employees may be unwilling to take time off work or pay for doctor’s appointments.
  • High deductibles – Even if their plan covers everything, workers often still need to pay thousands of dollars toward their deductible before their insurance starts to pay for their healthcare. With almost 40 percent of Americans having $0 in savings, a $3,000 deductible can be completely unaffordable.
  • Costly prescription drugs – A plan that doesn’t completely cover your employees’ medication can leave them hurting for money. A drug that costs $60 a week will take over $3,000 out of your employee’s funds by the end of the year, and many people may choose to simply forego or ration their medication instead.

Building a plan that serves your employees can require making some big alterations in your existing plan. But ultimately, you’ll be rewarded with a much happier and healthier workforce if you’re willing to take the leap.

One Step At a Time

A great adviser won’t force you to make a bunch of big changes right from the start. Instead, they’ll ease you into your new plan step by step, taking the time to explain your options and answer your questions. They’ll work to understand your company’s unique needs and learn more from you to figure out how to help you achieve your goals for the business. Some big changes will likely be necessary if you want dramatic results, but your adviser should be there with you every step of the way to ensure that you’re comfortable with the decisions you’re making for your plan. Change can be intimidating, especially in an industry that so strongly resists it, so working with the right adviser can be crucial in helping you feel satisfied with your new plan.

A Path To a Better Plan

Your benefits plan won’t be completely transformed overnight. Even big changes take time to implement, but if you’re willing to begin the process and work with a patient and understanding adviser, you can shrug off the status quo cost increases and end up with a flourishing business and satisfied employees.

Contact us today to learn more about how changing up your benefits plan can be the best decision you could make for your business.

Employee Benefits

How To Know If You’ve Found The Right Adviser For Your Benefits Journey

The journey to a more cost-effective benefits plan can be a long one, and if you’re working with a broker who’s a poor fit for your business, that journey can become even longer (and more expensive). Finding an adviser who suits your company’s individual needs, however, can be a whole challenge of its own. You don’t want to waste thousands of dollars working with a broker who ultimately fails to create savings within your benefits plan, but determining whether or not an adviser is a good fit for your business during your first few conversations isn’t always easy.

Before you sign that contract and welcome a new benefits adviser onto your team, ask yourself if they seem willing and able to provide these crucial components to a great relationship between a benefits adviser and a business owner:

The Right Solution, Not a Quick Fix

Your benefits plan is one of your business’ largest expenses, and finding an effective solution to improve it isn’t likely to happen the first time you meet with your adviser. Still, many brokers try this approach – they have a product or strategy that they feel is perfect for your business, and they may try to push you into accepting it before they’ve even gotten to know your company’s unique situation. No matter how they try to convince you, though, a one-size-fits-all method will rarely take you on the best path to optimal savings for your plan.

Your adviser should demonstrate patience and attentiveness, getting to know the individual needs of your business before proposing any grand solutions. Ideally, they’ll have a variety of tools and strategies at their disposal and be able to adjust them as your company’s needs change with time. If they can’t customize their approach, you’re likely to lose out on your benefits plan’s true potential.

A Continued Conversation

Your relationship with your adviser should be just that: a relationship. They may understand the benefits side of business, but you understand your business. You should be asking each other questions throughout the process to ensure that they’re the right person to handle your benefits plan. Your discussions with your adviser should never feel like a one-sided sales pitch, and you should search elsewhere if they’re displaying red flags like:

  • Pitching solutions before listening to your challenges
  • Being unable or unwilling to answer your questions about their process
  • Not offering a performance-based guarantee for their services

Just like the dating process that comes before marriage, asking questions and getting to know your adviser before you commit to them is crucial for an outcome that positively impacts both of you.

Investing in You

The money you spend on your benefits plan is an investment in your business and employees, and your adviser should treat their relationship with you as an investment as well. Before you even sign a contract, a good adviser will demonstrate their willingness to invest in their relationship with you. If an adviser you’re considering working with is happy to take time out of their day to answer your questions and get to know your business’ unique needs, this is a good sign that they want to build the right relationship with you to help achieve the best outcome for your plan.

Another easy way to find out if your adviser is willing to invest in you is by asking if they offer a performance-based guarantee. While no broker or adviser works for free, a performance guarantee guarantees that your adviser is willing to bet their own paycheck on their ability to provide you with the best service available. This offer ensures that you and your adviser are on this journey together, and they’ll only succeed if you do, too.

The Fit Your Business Deserves

The first few conversations you have with a prospective benefits adviser can reveal a lot about what they’ll be able to do for your business. If your potential adviser can take the time to develop a personalized solution for your plan, provide an ongoing two-sided conversation about their ideas and your needs, and demonstrate an investment in their work for you, they may just be the perfect fit for your company’s benefits plan.

Contact us today to learn more about how an adviser that fits your business can help your company grow.

Employee Benefits

How To Reduce Your Costs Without Changing Your Healthcare Plan

Employers often operate under the misconception that getting a better benefits plan means getting a new benefits plan. While big changes are sometimes necessary for big improvements, some business owners may shy away from looking at new opportunities for their plan because they don’t want to get rid of their current plan or benefits broker. The truth, however, is that working with a benefits adviser can help increase the quality of your benefits and reduce your costs without requiring you to stop working with your broker or completely change your plan.

Here are some ways your adviser can help you do more with the plan you already have:

Teaming Up For High-Quality, Low-Cost Benefits

Many business owners assume that they have to fire their broker in order to work with a benefits adviser. A great adviser, however, may be willing to work with your broker to help improve your existing plan instead of dismantling it and starting from scratch.

This enables you to:

  • Adjust your plan piece by piece, making changes more palatable for you and your employees
  • Maintain your relationship with your broker if you’ve been happy with their performance
  • Create savings with minimal risk through a performance-based guarantee

Not everyone wants to make the full switch from their existing broker to a new adviser, and that’s fine. Your adviser and your broker can form a team that can help maximize the positive impact your benefits plan can have on your business.

Measuring Your Progress

The only way to truly tell whether or not your benefits plan is really saving you money is to track your progress over time. Your adviser should have a multi-step process to be able to objectively look at how your benefits plan is impacting your business:

  1. Gather and analyze data
  2. Create and implement a solution
  3. Review and evaluate the results

Many traditional plans stop at step two, only revisiting the process when it’s time to renew. Your adviser, however, can work with you throughout the year to develop solutions that evolve with your business. By enhancing what works and adjusting what doesn’t, they can make your existing plan more dynamic, increasing its efficiency as time goes on.

Eliminating Wasteful Benefits Spending

Completely dismantling and rebuilding your benefits plan isn’t always necessary to increase its efficiency. Your adviser’s goal should be to reduce and eliminate unnecessary costs and procedures, which are probably more common than you think if you currently have a traditional benefits plan. For example, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) estimates that up to 30 percent of all surgeries are unnecessary. Imagine how much you could save if your plan helped just two of your employees find less stressful, lower-cost alternatives to invasive operations.

Many business owners don’t know that these savings opportunities exist at all. Your adviser can work alone or with your existing broker to find and eliminate excessive spending within the plan you already have, helping you and your employees spend less while maintaining (or even increasing) quality of care without requiring drastic changes to your plan.

Finding Problems, Building Solutions

You can change your benefits plan without changing your benefits plan. By working with your existing broker, measuring the progress of your plan, and searching for savings opportunities in the plan you already have, your adviser can help you make your current plan more efficient and cost-effective. Sometimes, unlocking your plan’s true potential is all that’s necessary to transform it from a regular benefits plan into a strategic advantage for your business.

Contact us today to learn more about how your current benefits plan can provide more opportunities for your business.

Employee Benefits

5 Misconceptions Employers Have About Their Benefits Plans

Traditional benefits plans have changed so little over the years that many business owners don’t even realize that changing their plan is possible. Stagnant, overpriced benefits plans can cause employers to develop misconceptions about how to make their plan more efficient, resulting in uneducated or even unhappy employees and benefits plans with wasted potential.

Here are five of the most common misconceptions business owners have about their healthcare plans:

1. “The insurer has my best interests in mind.”

Just because an insurer is working with you doesn’t mean they’re working for you. Misaligned incentives are a common factor driving up health insurance costs for employers. Insurers make more money as your premiums go up, so there’s no real incentive for them to work to bring your costs down instead. Rather than trusting an insurer at their word, business owners should look for advisers who offer a performance guarantee. This ensures that your adviser only gets paid if they save you money, so you can trust that their promises to help you are backed by their own desire to get paid.

2. “If I provide a benefit, my employees perceive it as a benefit.”

A “great” benefits package is only going to offer great things for your business if it makes your employees happy, and your employees will only be happy with their benefits if they can afford to use them. In 2017, a survey from GoBankingRates found that 57 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Even if they’re the only person relying on their insurance, they may still have a $3,000 deductible, putting them at risk for going into debt even if they have insurance. This benefits system creates a population of “functionally uninsured” people who have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.

Your adviser should work to go beyond simply making sure that your employees have health insurance – they should create a plan that enables your workers to actually be able to use the benefits they’re paying for without going bankrupt.

3. “I can’t improve the performance of a plan I already have.”

If your plan needs work, but you don’t want to fire your broker, you don’t have to stay stuck paying ever-increasing costs for the same benefits plan. Your adviser can work with your broker to find solutions that can help you save money while keeping your existing plan. By having your broker team up with your adviser, you get to keep your relationship with your broker while increasing the positive impact your plan can have on your company.

4. “Employee education isn’t necessary for a successful benefits plan.”

Just because you’re making a change that will benefit your employees doesn’t mean that your employees will understand how to use it. Many employers believe that if they explain a benefit just once, their employees will understand it and begin to correctly utilize it. The truth, though, is that employees need a comprehensive education about their plan to understand how they can get the most out of their benefits. Your adviser can work with you to develop a plan for proper and continuous employee education so that your workers never have to wonder if they’re using their plan the right way.

5. “I should only make changes to my plan when it’s time to renew.”

You don’t have to wait until your renewal to make changes, and in many cases, you and your employees may be better off if you don’t wait until the end of the year. When you discuss changes to your plan with your employees, a lot of information can get lost in all the noise of an annual renewal. This can result in your employees looking over the positive changes and focusing only on negative updates, such as end-of-the-year cost increases. When you make changes that aren’t associated with your renewal, though, your employees can develop a more positive view of the changes in their plan. By implementing new strategies and tools into your plan before your renewal, you facilitate your workers’ understanding of these changes while allowing them to see how these differences can positively affect them.

Many standards that are commonly accepted in traditional benefits plans are simply unnecessary (and often detrimental) for business owners. By rejecting these commonly held beliefs, you can open up your mind and business to a benefits plan that serves both your company and your employees better, improving the healthcare experience for everyone involved.

Contact us today to learn more about how you could be doing more with the benefits plan you have.

Employee Benefits

How Investing In Change Can Help You Build A Better Benefits Plan

Most benefits plans are treated as one-off annual expenses, and the result leaves business owners paying more and more every year for the same benefits. Despite this, many employers are hesitant to try something new, worried that different strategies might somehow leave them worse off than the system that’s been taking advantage of them for years on end.

Some of the most intimidating changes can pay off in incredible ways. I invested over $100,000 into improving my own company in 2018, and it was worth every penny. The risks I took are now enabling me to serve my clients better, helping them build benefits plans that can elevate their business and give more to their employees. This growth in my own business wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been willing to make some big changes, and it’s one reason why I push my own clients to invest in their own success by trying something different with their benefits.

Here’s why a big change can be your greatest investment when developing your benefits plan:


For many clients who have gotten used to status-quo benefits plans, developing something new and innovative with a great adviser is just as uncomfortable as it is exciting. They’ve gotten used to the same process (and the same increased costs) year after year, and the prospect of trying something new can seem like a huge risk.

If you’re on the fence about making the switch to a more innovative benefits plan, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s my annual increase? For most business owners, the answer is 5-6 percent every year.
  • Is it sustainable? And even if you can afford to pay the increase, are there really no areas of your business where that money could be better spent?
  • Am I willing to make a change? If you stick with the same process you’ve been using every year when you renew, you’ll keep spending unnecessary funds on the same suboptimal benefits services.

Change can be intimidating, especially when it comes to the business you’ve worked so hard to build up. If you want to finally stop overpaying for benefits, though, you need to try something new to avoid getting more of the same.


A good adviser will understand that you may be hesitant about making big changes to your benefits plan, and they’ll do everything they can to earn your trust throughout the whole process. One of the biggest ways that your adviser can ensure you’re getting what you paid for from your plan is through a performance guarantee. This ensures that your adviser only gets paid if you save money through their work.

Your adviser will also work closely with you and your employees throughout the benefits process. Unlike a broker, who meets with you just once a year to “negotiate” a renewal, a great adviser will work with your business throughout the year, adapting your plan to your company’s changes and growth. They can also meet individually with your employees to help them understand their plan, educating them on how the choices they make can help save them (and you) more money.


Ultimately, even a great benefits plan won’t work if you and your adviser are a poor fit for each other. Just as your adviser has to be willing to build your trust and prove that their services are worth your time and money, you need to believe in what they’re doing in order to get the most out of your benefits plan.

Recently, a now-former client of mine decided that they wanted to make the switch back to a traditional broker. They didn’t understand the concepts I had available to bring to them, and they wanted to stay in the status quo. A mismatch like this wasn’t going to serve either of us in the long term – they weren’t willing to accept the changes necessary to help their business grow, and they went with something they were comfortable with instead. For me, this outcome wasn’t a failure, but rather the result of a poor client-adviser fit. Business owners have to believe in the tools and strategies their adviser provides them, or even the best benefits plan won’t give them the results they want.


The journey to a better benefits plan isn’t as quick and simple as signing off on an annual renewal, but it can be one of the best choices you can make for your growing business. By being willing to exit your comfort zone and trust your adviser, you can help build an amazing working relationship that takes your benefits plan from another annual expense to a strategic tool for your company.

Contact us today to learn more about how a big change can be your best investment in developing your benefits plan.

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