Every year, we meet with our larger clients about midway through the plan year to begin preparations for the next group insurance renewal. When I ask about goals and objectives for the upcoming renewal, the most common answers I hear are these:
- Control cost
- Try not to “rock the boat” too much. In other words, keep things as consistent as we can, and minimize disruption.
While I completely understand these objectives, it’s interesting that taken individually, both would probably suggest a different path than when they are considered as dual, equally important objectives.
Keeping the “boat” steady is easy. Assuming that the plans aren’t changing too much, it’s fairly easy to maintain a carrier and plan(s) combination. It’s the controlling cost bit that often requires some creativity and change. The good news is that sometimes, those creative options can create a plan that’s even better than the one that was in place before.
What if it was possible to create a plan with lower costs and better outcomes? It’s not possible all the time, but it is sometimes. And the larger the employer, the more options there are to explore.
Timing matters too. Employers are usually reasonably content if they can get their fully insured renewals down into the low to mid single digits. I don’t blame them, particularly when trend with the health insurance companies is 8% to 12% with an ever-increasing portion of that attributable to prescription drugs. The interesting thing is that the best time to consider more creative options is when you get these modest rate increases. That’s when your claims experience, even if you can’t get much detail from your insurance company, is probably the most favorable. You usually don’t get a 6% rate increase if your claims experience stinks.
If you’re open to “rocking the boat” a bit to explore a few creative options to control cost on your health plan, give us a call at (866) 724-0008 or click the link below.