What to Expect When Switching Insurance Providers

In last week’s article titled ‘What to Expect when Setting Up a New Benefits Plan’, I shared some common expectations for employee benefits first-timers. As a benefits consulting team with a combined experience of over 30-years of industry expertise, helping our clients setup a new benefits plan is merely one of our many specialties. We also work with clients with existing benefits plans who are looking to shop around for a new insurance provider.

While we don’t avidly encourage our clients to shop around, there are some very valid reasons why a client might want to consider other employee benefits plans and providers. (Read ‘To Shop or Not? When to Consider a Competitive Market Tender’’ to understand when it’s good idea to shop for a new provider and plan.) However, before switching here is what we tell our clients about what they can expect from the entire process:

1. Grandfathering Life and Disability Insurance into Your New Plan – Our job is to make the transition to a new insurance provider as seamless as possible. So when it’s time to switch, our team at BenefitDeck works with the new provider to ensure that your employees do not have to undergo another medical questionnaire to attain the same levels of life and disability coverage. However, part of that process includes providing proof of coverage to the new insurance company by submitting a previous invoice for the existing plan. We handle all the details with the new insurance provider on behalf of our clients, so once the invoice is submitted, our employees can expect the exact same life and disability coverage without hassle.

2. Matching Your Plan to Meet Your Needs – When you switch insurance providers, you can run into some subtle variations with your new plan. While smaller groups usually opt for pre-packaged offerings, which are generally similar across providers, larger companies with customized plans might have more discrepancies to consider when switching providers. One example might be a difference in the amount of travel insurance coverage offered by one provider versus another. Another example might be a minor difference in what might be included, or not, in standard dental care benefits, such as coverage of fluoride treatments. Needless to say, once we have all the pertinent information about your existing plan, our team at BenefitDeck will go through the new offering to make sure it meets your precise expectations and needs. Our experience allows us to pinpoint possible inconsistencies and address them immediately to avoid any surprises later on

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3. Preparing Your Company for the New Employee Benefits Provider – There is no denying that switching providers comes with some extra work for our clients. New insurance providers require enrolment forms to be completed by each employee and master contracts to be reviewed and signed by the CEO or acting officer. Employees also need to be educated about the new provider, the benefits plans and the claims process. As service-oriented benefits consultants, we work with our clients to help facilitate this transition as much as possible. We provide detailed checklists, assist with dispersing preliminary information to employees and will even host educational meetings and training sessions for employees. We help alleviate some of the administrative burden so company representatives can focus on other pressing tasks.

4. Marketing the Plan and Savings to Your Employees – Giving your employees advance notice of a change in insurance provider will ensure the transition happens as smoothly as possible. However, switching plans also presents a good opportunity to remind employees how much the organization cares for their health and well-being as well as to re-inform employees about possible savings and best-use practices. For example, in the meetings we host for our clients’ employees, we take the time to advocate that the employee benefits plan is an added perk which shows how much they are valued within the organization. We also point out opportunities for employees to keep costs down, such as selecting products and services from the insurance companies’ list for discount providers, and providing information on ways to make efficient use of the plan.

5. Preparing for Next Year’s Policy Renewal – Switching to a new insurance provider can come with some cost advantages. However, like any new plan, the subsequent renewal might be subject to a slight increase, depending on the amount of claims submitted within the year. With our team of experienced consultants by your side, you can rest assured that we will monitor your claims on quarterly basis and immediately advise you if we suspect that these might cause rate increases upon renewal. Having solid relationships with our providers also gives us some leverage when negotiating renewals on behalf of our clients. All of this contributes to better plan sustainability and affordability.

Considering a Move? Work with BenefitDeck

If you have been considering looking for a new employee benefits plan provider, it is important to understand that there is more to the process than cost negotiations. Working with a benefit consultant not only helps you find exactly what you need at the right price, but also streamlines the entire process from the moment you decide to make the switch. We provide hands-on service, acting as your single point of contact throughout the transition, and stick by your organization to ensure you get the most from your employee benefits plan for years to come. Contact us today for a second opinion.

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