As an employer, you should be aware of changes occurring in your health insurance policies. This is especially true following an acquisition because when a large health insurance company steps in, your policies could be adjusted, which can affect your school in a significant way.
By definition, an acquisition is the act of gaining a possession, or in other words, an acquisition is when one company takes over another. When an acquisition occurs between health insurance companies one will receive the clientele along with the company and when that occurs, modifications to the policies can be made.
Although these changes may not be obvious at first, slowly over time your policy can shift in a direction that benefits the insurance company and not necessarily your school.
Large companies can be wrapped in bureaucracy
True story — a school that we work for purchased insurance from a small health insurance agency and was happy with the service they received for a number of years. Eventually, the owner of that company decided to retire and sold the business to a larger health insurance company. Over time, the school’s insurance policy slowly became more about driving efficiencies toward the insurance company’s revenue and not the schools.
At a certain size, health insurance agencies can become less personal and direct because of the bureaucracy involved. Incentives are easily misaligned and policies and procedures become layered, preventing creativity and flexibility for brokers and agents. These situations are unfortunately more common than you might think.
Know what information is important, and who to get it from
If your school’s health insurance company is considering an acquisition there are several key points to keep in mind, such as:
- Request your policies data and be sure you receive it in a timely manner.
- If your policy has changed over time and no longer fits your company culture, discuss your options with your provider to make necessary adjustments.
- If a broker is suggesting a specific plan or carrier, ask if there is a different commission or monthly fee for that particular plan compared to others that are not being recommended. It is your right to know if incentives are being offered.
- Maintain communication with your employees during renewal time as well as periodically throughout the year, to be sure your benefits align with their needs. If there are employee complaints or desires, be sure to bring them up with your provider.
- Customer service can suffer after a merger or acquisition. If you find you are not getting the help you need, you may need to consider another carrier.
- Stay on top of your health insurance policies, or bring in the help of an advisor who can help. Remember that maintaining a good health insurance policy needs attention throughout the year, not just at renewal time.
By staying informed with the correct data and asking the right questions you can help keep your health insurance policy working to its full potential. Remember to include opinions and information from your employees as well as your broker or agent.
Your employees can give valuable feedback
Cara Silletto, a workforce thought leader from Magnet Culture recommended in a recent Conner Chat webinar that companies should “…conduct pulse surveys, not just annual one-time surveys but regular one or two questions out to different pockets of the employees to collect more valid data.”
By collecting this data and information you can get a better understanding of what is happening with your policy and remain mindful of any changes that are occurring throughout the year. Then, you can take this knowledge to the insurance provider to keep your policy moving in the right direction, which is a quality, cost-effective benefits program for your staff and school.
When health insurance companies merge, or an acquisition takes place, the immediate effects to your company’s policy aren’t always obvious. Know what questions to ask, what your plan options are and where the recommendations are coming from.
If you need help with your health insurance policy don’t hesitate to reach out.