The Benefit Broker Differentiator in Wellness Initiatives - Capstone Brokerage

Wellness programs for benefits packages

By: Sam Salbi (Benefits Pro) April 2016

As health care spending sky rockets, the buzz of implementing wellness programs is becoming louder. Employers want to control health care spending, see higher productivity rates, and increase employee satisfaction while struggling to find the right program. I’ve heard their statements many times “We are still trying to figure it out,” and “people are not engaged.”

More and more companies are looking for new and better wellness programs and most of them are looking to a benefit broker for this. Wellness programs are one of the most important tools that a benefit broker uses to advise their client on health care benefits and controlling health care spending. A benefit broker should know their client’s specific wellness demographics when it comes to evaluating and offering them wellness strategies that deliver results.

Companies are relying on benefit brokers to recommend and even implement wellness programs and find the right vendor for them. There are many great and, frankly, some not so great wellness programs out there.

Not all of them are appropriate or effective for every company’s unique employee population. Knowing the client’s population’s make up and likely health risks can help a broker determine the right wellness plan for a company and their employees.

Today’s availability of wellness-based applications provides tools to reveal patterns and objective evaluations to assist clients in realizing their wellness vision and goals (not just the subjective “program of the day” approach). To achieve this process a broker will need:

1.A data driven wellness platform that offers choice and houses all the vendor’s wellness, claim, and HR data. This will provide the needed insights and criteria for an optimally designed wellness plan;

2.A 360 analysis tool along with a solid process and management support to align the goals and objectives of the company.

Based on the process above, a broker will have precise information for what is needed to achieve the goals of the client and, most importantly, establish criteria a vendor must meet in contributing to wellness effectiveness. The best decisions are made when clients have the clarity and insights needed for choosing the right wellness programs or vendor.

“Data talks” and it will tell you when to improve the wellness program or if a new program is needed. This data driven approach is the cornerstone of a wellness platform approach, as opposed to a mix of programs available from ad hoc program selection or a portal type method of combined programs with little or no flexibility or program options.

We live in a time of information. It is part of our daily lives and necessary for making decisions that look to achieve objectives. With the platform approach clients will keep their historical data in one place even when the program vendor changes and the broker will always have a roadmap to meet their client’s wellness goals. This works out for both the client and the broker.

Without having meaningful analysis of their client’s population and employment characteristics, many brokers choose the easier solution by defaulting to a set of standard wellness programs bundled by portal vendors.

Given the extended contracts required for a portal vendor and the lack of a 360 analysis embedded in the wellness solution, the dirty little secret is that many companies are dissatisfied with wellness outcomes, while many more are unaware of the effectiveness or impact of their wellness programs.

The platform-based model provides the data and transparency to vendor practices and outcomes enabling improved choice and options. Given the cost and increasing importance of wellness as part of the employee benefit mix, it’s time to take a data science based approach to wellness.

A data driven wellness platform with program choice is the best tool a benefit broker can offer their clients to differentiate themselves, improve client outcomes, and establish long term relationships based on sound wellness planning and implementation.

The platform model offers the insight and flexibility to assess and engage vendors who provide programs that best fit the client’s employee population needs. Since transparency and vendor choice is inherent in the platform model, a client can change program vendors when they need to and savvy brokers will recognize the value that competition ignites in supporting effective wellness strategies reflecting desired outcome.

This aligns with the original goals of most wellness initiatives: controlling health care spending, improving productivity, increasing employee satisfaction, and a better quality of life.

In conclusion, a wellness platform gives brokers the opportunity to present their clients with access to the best and most appropriate programs that fit their needs. Information, insight, and choice in one centralized, wellness rich application.

A platform is a simplified approach to their population’s health management. It maintains the long-term vison that offers the clarity required to make smart business choices when implementing an effective program.

Sam Salbi is the CEO of FitLyfe Wellness. Mr. Salbi’s approach focuses on health outcomes and the return on investment for well-designed wellness initiatives.

Benefits Pro