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The Blueprint

Real Business is in Relationships, Not Spreadsheets

Rising healthcare insurance costs never seem to end—in fact, they’re leaning closer to skyrocketing these days. With that in mind, it seems like the best option to go for the lowest-priced option, wherever you can find it. Whether that’s the cheapest health benefits or plan, saving where you can is becoming more and more of a priority.

That being said, cheaper prices shouldn’t necessarily be your guiding force when evaluating your stop-loss partner. It can be tempting to spring for the least expensive on the spreadsheet—but in fact, that number should raise a brow. The reality is that investing in a long-term stop-loss partner1 pays off for the better. Real business is in relationships, not the spreadsheet. Let’s explore why.

Why the Lowest on the Spreadsheet Should Raise a Brow
To begin with, there are noticeable shortcomings of sticking with a “lowest price is best” mentality. Doing so turns the partnership into a commodity, as opposed to an actual relationship. Without that ground built, your stop-loss partner becomes a year-by-year decision, which means they have no incentive to invest in long-term solutions

Choosing a lower-priced partnership is obviously going to save you quite a bit—but it can come at the cost of true partnership. Clients with the habit of choosing the less pricey option are likely to continue to do so, jumping from carrier to carrier, year to year. With this comes the loss of consistency in communication and expectation, leaving clients with lower-quality solutions and a lack of customization to fit their individual company needs. And without that relationship built, there is no foundation to lean on if (and most likely when) a claim issue arises. Fair-weather friendships don’t tend to last. Even if you win on price, in the long term, you’re really losing on price—as well as quality and reliable partnership.

Real Business is in the Relationship
Building better carrier relationships, even if it seems a more expensive option at the time, can pay off in spades. Instead of constant changeups and a carrier that knows little about your company, regularly working with a partner can not only result in solutions better suited to your company but a better working relationship as well. With that consistency comes trust, making it much easier, and considerably less stressful, to tailor your health plan. If you ever need to resolve an issue or have a question answered, you have the peace of mind of knowing who to call—and that they’ll answer when you need them.

Building that relationship can pay off long-term as well. Stop-loss insurance is often the second largest line item of an employer’s liability, with the potential to pose a significant risk. A long-term partnership introduces consistency and stability to that, which can help mitigate both the risk and the employer’s worries. Instead of leaving that risk up to the hope that the new, lower-cost carrier will fight for you, a long-term partner you have a relationship with is far more likely to come in aggressively on a renewal when you need it the most.

What to Look for in a Stop-Loss Partner
When you go to look for a stop-loss partner, first and foremost, you want to find a carrier that has the health plan’s best interests in mind2. It might sound a bit idealistic, but genuine partnerships are built on genuine investment in the success of a health plan—and, more importantly, those using it. From that point on, building a relationship for the better should be significantly easier. It’s also a good idea to look for a carrier that doesn’t “buy” business in year one with a low quote, as it’s likely you’ll see a large increase when it comes time for renewals. It’s also a good to look for a carrier who understands that large losses will come some years just as minimal losses do, and treat the renewals fairly, as well as one who is flexible and willing to take into account what makes the group unique.

At RMTS, we’re proud to provide stop-loss3 to multiple clients that have been with us for over fifteen years. This longevity stems from the partnerships we’ve built with our clients and the mutual trust we’ve worked hard to establish. Our partners know what to expect from us; our consistency in delivering single-digit increases and dependable service is the cornerstone of that relationship.