I just finished reading some statistics on benefits and to be honest I'm having a hard time with them. Personally, I think this industry is missing information regarding HSAs, Wellness/ Lifestyle Spending Accounts, and other Self-Insured Employee Benefit Products which inherently makes the statistics provided by Insurance companies incorrect.
I had a conversation with a large advisor the other day that took over a client who had a myHSA plan included in their program; the advisor called us for clarification about what they had just taken over and to try and better understand what HSA’s are. They started throwing out comments like "there are tons of providers like you" and stating they "did not need another one”.
It felt like the advisor, at the end of the day, was quite literally trying to find a way to make sure that we knew our business model would never be supported by the Insurance industry. The advisor thought that there are tons of HSA providers and no one was doing anything different. For a moment, I even contemplated our existence.
Yesterday I reviewed our analytics and in just two weeks we have added 57 companies, 23 advisors and just under 900 employees. I know this is pretty raw information to post in a blog, but it reinforces my standpoint that we seem to be significant to where this industry is going.
So the question is: Do the carriers focus on numbers outside of Insurance for industry statistics? I have heard that 70% of companies in Canada have some sort of a spending account to either compliment, or replace, their current benefit plan. I would absolutely agree with this statistic and even argue that this number is likely higher.
" The worst part? This likely happens at hundreds, if not thousands,
of company offices every year. "
We once sat down with a large TPA in Canada to discuss the benefits of our program. We explained our procedure in regards to Health Spending Accounts and compared it to their current process. Their process? Every December the entire office gathered on one floor, ordered pizza, and would pay Cost Plus/HSA claims. If that sounds archaic, it's because it is. If that sounds ridiculous to you, I agree. The worst part? This likely happens at hundreds, if not thousands, of company offices every year. I wonder how many of those claim statistics are then put in those empty pizza boxes and sent out to be included in the published industry statistics? Likely not a lot, which is where the errors lie.
For example: a Pharmacist, Dentist, or Health Practitioner would have no way of knowing if the portion the customer pays out of pocket is later submitted through an HSA. The industry has a small bit of industry statistics that they rely on, and because something like an HSA is a self-funded plan, these numbers do not make their way into those industry provided statistics. This makes the general information provided to you fundamentally flawed.
This industry is still so fixated on Insurance as being the sole form of benefits, so that is what they base their statistic on. They do not contemplate what they don’t know, or don’t care to know. We have always dealt with advisors exclusively and not direct to the consumers, because we believe that a client needs an advisor to be able to choose a combination of benefits that work for them depending on what stage they are at.
" technology, traditionally the most complicated
and most misunderstood part of a benefit plan "
If you’re a client that deals exclusively with a spending account provider and no Insurance, or an Insurer that does not look at what else is out there (health spending accounts), you should. Advisors can offer things that you, as a consumer, would not look for. Having said that, I do have a question for you advisors: How many of your clients have some sort of spending account that they utilize through you, or through an Insurer? Or even through another provider that is not even considered a benefits provider (even though they are)?
Self-funded benefits and spending accounts are growing at a rapid rate these days. Perhaps with an industry that is now focusing on technology, which traditionally was the most complicated and most misunderstood part of a benefit plan, is now starting to get the industry statistics that it needs to properly help clients make decisions on benefits.