Health Insurance Making You Ill?

I’ve taken the temperature of many businesses in the past year and have found that many are suffering from a very high fever.  The high cost of health insurance, is making them ill.  Ironically, it seems to be the CEO and CFO that are the most effected and of course the employees that end up of losing their jobs.   The benefits department is concerned about raising deductibles, changing doctors, the administrative workload of change to the current staff and having to deal with the fall out and certainly that is understandable.  However, isn’t it a bit short sided to be too concerned about the employees that still have a job, most have no plan to leave their job without a replacement job and there are plenty of individuals ready to fill any empty positions?  Keeping a business health financially should be the number one decision of every employee and employer, as it provides a long term employment opportunity that can weather difficult times and ultimately improved the well being of all employed.  With out financial solvency and profit most businesses will not and can not survive.

The remedy is not fast, it is a long term solution and it is based in transparency.  You do not have to receive a rate increase; contrary to what you have been experiencing the past few years and current trending predicts, the only thing missing is the right tools. 

Yes, even tools your current benefits department and human resources has not discovered.  Most human resource managers have no idea what we do or how we do it, as hard as they try to guess. 

Why is the human resource department unaware of how to keep these costs down? 

They are experts in human resources they are not experts in the function and purchasing of insurance or the negotiation of contracts concerning insurance.  Just as I would fail, or even the CEO would possibly fail at the administration of payroll, procedures, COBRA laws administration, etc.  A human resource department may easily not know how to negotiate the best deal on health insurance.  It is not their fault, it isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just the way it is and has been this way for years.  The system is not transparent. 

You can’t reduce cost if you don’t know what you should be shooting for. 

If you want to win a marathon, you need to know the times that others are winning the race, you need to know how much to train, you need to know about nutrition for sustaining yourself, and you need to know ways to improve your speed.  You do not just show up on the day of the race at the starting line and run when the gun goes off; you will not win this way.

You need a good agent for your health insurance, (by the way, that’s not us, we are insurance negotiators not your agent) but that is not enough and furthermore most businesses judge their insurance agent by the fact that they answer their calls, or are nice to the employees or to them, or they receive a rate increase and the agent brought it down by 5%., or they provide their COBRA administration (they do that don’t they? If you answered no, you already have a poor agent).  Do you have any idea where your premiums should be?  If not, why not?  What is a good rate?  How do you obtain a good rate?  What are others paying?  If my agent isn’t offering a good rate, how do I obtain one?  What services should our agent provide for us? Are they offering us all the options available?  

Eighty-percent of all our clients that we save the huge bucks believe they have a good agent, the opinion only changes when they see it in black and white that they did not receive as much as they thought, and paid much more than others.  The best thing about health insurance negotiations is the secret sauce we provide to our clients lasts years.  It is the same example of teaching a man to fish, it will feed him for years, but if we give you a fish to eat it only lasts a day.  We teach clients tools and they can continue to use them for years to come and many of our clients reduce their health insurance premiums between 5%-25% the first year.  Pretty significant savings especially considering many are only seeing rate increases. 

To bid on your health renewal, do you have any idea where your premium should be?  If not, why not?  What is a good rate?  How do you obtain a good rate?  What are others paying?  If my agent isn’t offering a good rate, how do I obtain one? 

I have recently been a little agitated at many things.  As I turn on the t.v., I get blasted with all the political slinging, ads that you know are not the truth and I wonder is anyone one believing all this stuff?  I don’t like most of the political arena and in many ways I am ignorant.  Yes, it’s true – it has been a slow turn for me as it was just not something I grew up with so it took awhile before I really cared.  Then, I dated someone who was the chief of staff for a senator and I saw so much waste of time and money in his work, it just made me sick.  I watch it in my own industry and so my trust is very low.  Here is my main agitation.   Do we not use any common sense when we ponder something?

My industry is one of those that today that I find myself a bit perplexed.  We contact businesses and try to give them an assessment of where they are in regards to the cost of their business insurance.  We have actual rates from our client base for the last 14 + years and they are real figures. 

We tip our prospects onto what they should be paying for insurance based on how much property they have, sales volume, industry, workers comp best pricing, etc.  Now, do they call us and question us to how we arrived at those figures?  No.  What they do is they send this information to the agent who insures their account.  Now, I ask you, what do you think that agent is going to say?  Is it, “Yes, John we have been ripping you off for years?”  “Oops, sorry about that, we will fix it now”.  Or is it more likely they will say, “I don’t know how this person can say that without knowing your account” we do the best job we can at keeping your costs down.”

Quick Facts:

98% of our clients save money

Our average savings is 35%, we have saved at high as 74%

We don’t sell insurance – we don’t want to be your agent

We only make money if we save you money – a one-time percentage of the savings

Why do you call the person that is possibly over-charging you?  If they lower it, are you really happy?  Did they serve you well?

This October we had one of our clients that we were working with and utilized our new calculator system – we predicted that they should be paying about $25,000 for their insurance.  Their current cost was $61,000.  The carrier they had was a good carrier and one that can be very competitive and yet, they were over-paying according to our data by over 50%.  The client sent me an email from his agent and it said, “We have sent the renewal application to several carriers to check the market place for your insurance coverage renewal, most have indicated they can not compete with the current carrier.”  I’ve got to tell you, I laughed when I saw it.  I see this all the time, every month.  Our client said, well good luck, and I know he didn’t believe we could come through, many of our clients don’t, it just sounds too good to be true and they keep hearing from their own agent that they can’t get a better deal and even other agents will tell them that same thing.  It MUST be true! 

Our calculator works because it is a base line on what is available as the BEST rates, and then all we have to do is find one or two carriers that want the business willing to offer coverage at that best price available.  The agents are working in the wrong direction.  They are working on the premise of “what are you willing to buy at” so as long as you don’t know what you should pay, and no one else brings it to the table, then they have you!

For this particular account, the end result was we had two offerings one at $37,000 and one at $31,000.  The client had another agent bidding on it and he came in at $55,000 (with less coverage).  His own agent then miraculously dropped his premium to $38,000.  We did not get a quote at $25,000, but given the chance to work it again we could probably get it there in less than three years.  If your premium is high, it can take a couple of years to get it to it’s lowest level because the carriers will have to if they want it, but when it is already high, they know they don’t have to max credits to obtain the account.  We don’t have to know everything about your account to give you a pretty accurate prediction – just a few, simple basics.

Back to the original question, why do prospective clients call their agents to check us out?  What are you expecting to hear from them?   If we had taken this approach with the computer when it was introduced who would we have called, the person who sold us the typewriter?  “Hey, typewriter guy, this other bloke says he has this gizmo that will store all my data I type into it so I can use it again, save it, forward it, etc.”  “Do you think I should try it?  Typewriter guy, “hell no, our product is the state of the art gizmo”.  How many of us still have typewriters?

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