When it comes to picking a workplace health insurance plan, the highest-level stakeholders at your company may not be directly involved in the process of researching insurers. But your stakeholders care about the impact the right health insurance can have on the bottom line. And they’re the ones who will ultimately shape the decision by setting the budget and approving your strategy.
That’s why, as you explore health benefits, it’s important to build a case for your upper-level decision-makers. Here are five tips to help keep everybody’s interests aligned.
1. Don’t Assume They Understand the Lingo
Before you start explaining why one insurance plan is better than the others, you may want to give your stakeholders a quick refresher on insurance features like premiums, out-of-pocket costs, provider networks and Affordable Care Act regulations. Don’t assume they already know these terms, even if they’ve been signing up for health insurance for years. You can freshen up using our glossary.
By teaching them the basics, you’ll not only help them understand your recommendation, but you’ll also show that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to the importance of health insurance for employees.
2. Tie Benefits to Other Company Goals
When you present a new health insurance plan, it will leave more of an impression on decision-makers if you connect it to your organization’s big-picture goals. For example, rather than saying a plan will make it easier for employees to see their doctors, you could say it will improve productivity and reduce sick days by keeping employees healthier.
Or, instead of just pointing out that employees will like a more generous plan, you could explain that job seekers rate health insurance as the most important factor for considering a new position, according to the Harvard Business Review. Improving health benefits at your company could lower turnover and make it easier to attract talent.
None of this is to say that key stakeholders don’t care about the importance of health insurance for employees. But they’ll be even more interested when you show them how improving health benefits will help you hit other company goals.
3. Point Out That Premiums Aren’t the Only Cost
Leadership at your company will always be focused on the overall bottom line, and they might be uncomfortable switching to a plan with a higher premium. Let them know that the base premium is only part of what your organization pays for health care costs. A lower-premium plan might have higher costs whenever employees receive medical care, for instance in the form of deductibles or coinsurance.
In addition, a weaker plan may make it harder for employees to get the right medical care, which could lead to more sick days and disability claims. These could balance out any initial savings from paying less in premiums.
A discussion of costs could be a good time to bring up strategies to reduce future employee health care expenses, like adding a workplace wellness program along with your new insurance plan.
4. Bring in Supporting Material
Third-party materials add weight to your recommendation, allowing key stakeholders to see that you’re working with more than just your personal preference. Present any case studies, statistics and other research showing why one plan may be superior to the others. If you were able to get any testimonials or client references from an insurer, these can also be useful.
Finally, if you’ve discussed plans with an insurance agent or broker, ask if they can help with your final presentation. A broker is particularly helpful in this stage, since they represent multiple insurance companies. They can help you explain to your stakeholders how you’ve considered all the options and arrived at your recommendation.
5. Start the Discussion Early
You should start talking about your new health insurance plan with key stakeholders as soon as possible. Acknowledge that you aren’t expecting them to supervise or micromanage the whole process — they don’t have the time. Instead, tell them that you want to keep them in the loop in case they have any feedback or requirements for the new plan.
This will help keep you from finding out at your final presentation that you were missing a key piece of information, like that your company will be opening an office in a new location that needs to be covered by your new insurance plan. By touching base with your key stakeholders throughout the process, you won’t be caught scrambling.
Ultimately, securing an increase for your insurance budget will take some effort. But by using these strategies when you make your case, you have the best chance of getting the people you need on your side.
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