I talk to a lot of employers – either one on one, or at the seminars that I conduct and I ask them “when was the last time your broker/consultant gave you an idea that could save you 20 to 50% on your health insurance costs?” They look at me like I am alien from another planet and then they say “never!” And then I ask them “why is that?”  “Is it because your broker consultant doesn’t have any ideas, or it’s because they don’t want to show you any?”

“If they don’t have any ideas, you should probably get yourself a new broker/consultant. If the reason is that they don’t want to give you any ideas – why is that?” And then somebody else will shout “money!” And I say “you got it!”

I recently had a client that implemented all of my recommended steps to lower their health care cost through reference based pricing, specialty drug programs, un-bundled self-funded plan etc. and they effectively had it for about four months. Then the CFO left the company. The insurance agency that had the my client’s parent company’s insurance program immediately swept in and changed them back over to a bundled plan with the prior insurance company. Obviously, I was disappointed to lose a client but it made it very clear to me that this broker changed it back to a bundled plan so they could make more money at the expense of the client, who by the way has no idea what the brokers compensation is.

When I speak to an employer and tell them how they can save 30% or more in the health insurance costs, I know it sounds too good to be true. But it’s not.

I also know that some of these employers have relationships that are very strong with their broker, yet they’ve never heard of these kinds of ideas. A lot of my recommendations are given to their broker who tries to shoot holes in them. They don’t want to lose an existing client and they don’t want to lose the commissions they’re earning.

When I learn about new concepts and ideas and investigate them thoroughly as a possible solution for my clients, it’s hard for me not to share them. If I know something that would benefit them, why wouldn’t I share? Clearly there are other brokers don’t feel the same way.

But yet the employer’s relationship is so strong and they trust their advisor (which they should) yet they kind of have blinders on to any new ideas, or think that they can only come from the incumbent broker.

Ask yourself this: who on your healthcare team has an incentive for your costs to go down? Well, who is on your team? Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, brokers, drug manufacturers, etc.? All of them are on your team, but actually all of them have a financial incentive for your costs to go up not down! They all make more money when costs go up.

Many employers aren’t ready for new ideas. I get it. New ideas require change and change can create uncertainty. And when someone can bring dramatic change to costs – it’s hard to believe.

But it can’t happen and it does happen. I have plenty of clients who can testify to that. They have chosen to ‘jump the tracks’ and challenge the status quo to create change and put more money back in their employees’ paychecks.

If you think your broker has all the answers, ask them why they haven’t helped you to dramatically reduce your cost. Do you want to know how to reduce your costs and ‘jump the tracks’? Then you need to reach out to me and we can talk. I may not have all the answers but I certainly have ways to help you lower your healthcare costs and improve your bottom line.

You can reach me at 970-349-7707 or frank.stichter@strategichpc.com