- A new report by Alegeus, the benefits tech firm, found that only 39% of brokers have advanced training in being a consumer consultant, says Employee Benefit Adviser (EBA) — and the 2017 Broker and Employer CDH Insights Report shows that brokers have knowledge gaps about increasingly popular consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs).
- About 68% of the brokers said they were well-versed in CHDPs, despite the knowledge gap the report discovered, says EBA. Advanced training covers statutory regulations on health savings accounts (HSAs), plan design, product capabilities and best practices in introducing consumer-driven strategies for the first time.
- The survey also found that 30% of brokers gave their aptitude an average or below average rating when talking about market trends relating to account-based products, according to EBA.
Consumers as healthcare account holders — as well as employers who want knowledgeable guides for their employees — look to brokers for honest, reliable advice. With employees shouldering more of the costs of healthcare, they need brokers who are highly knowledgeable and capable of helping them navigate the healthcare benefits system.
Where brokers might come up short as consultants, employers might have to fill in the gaps by connecting employees with other benefits experts who can help them better understand their benefits and keep them up to date on changes. Some employers are turning to new technologies to better educate employees about benefits offerings and to engage them in the enrollment process. Computers, at least, have quick access to a slew of answers for various benefits questions that are rarely incorrect.
But many people still want the human touch and personalization a broker can provide. The standards to which insurance brokers are held to in the context of employee benefits is an important background to this survey, particularly as debate around the delayed fiduciary rule continues within regulatory and legal circles.