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Should Brokers Partner with PEOs to Sell Health Insurance?

Broker selling health insurance to a man in an office.

Expertise provided by Chris Leyba, Benefits Consultant

Brokers have historically been wary of professional employer organizations (PEOs), but when a broker partners with a PEO that genuinely values the relationship, they can access substantial advantages and benefits for themselves and their clients. The right broker-PEO partnership deepens broker-client relationships, frees up brokers’ bandwidth, and creates substantial benefits for both partners.

What Does a Traditional Health Benefits Plan Look Like?

Often brokers are working to find the best traditional employer-provided health benefit plans they can for their clients. These plans typically operate on a one-employer-per-group basis. As with most insurance plans, the coverage and rates depend on the size of the group to distribute the risk. If the group is small, risk distribution becomes less effective, potentially leading to higher premiums and more limited coverage options. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, small businesses and their brokers are subject to geographic rate setting on traditional benefit plans. This makes the business location a crucial factor in determining insurance premiums over the actual risk of a particular group. Under this model, insurance providers may pool small employers together to achieve better plan options or the rate advantages of larger pools. 

How are PEO Benefit Plans Different?

One of the main differences between PEO benefit plans and traditional benefit plans is the size of the employer pool. Most PEO plans have a much larger pool of plan participants, so they can provide opportunities that small to mid-size employers won’t find in traditional carrier-direct health plans. Employers also benefit from the advantage of direct underwriting, which can give them access to plans and rates they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.  

When hundreds of small businesses join together, they can secure far more competitive plans through their PEO’s carrier partnership. These partnerships can also create the opportunity for additional ancillary services often supported by the PEO. This helps brokers free up administrative time while balancing existing client administration and new client acquisition. Small businesses and their brokers often face a tremendous administrative workload without a PEO partner.

Other administrative benefits of PEO partnerships include support from the PEO for:

  • Distribution of plan information materials and forms
  • Employee education about plan options
  • Communication with the carrier
  • Access to direct carrier feeds for seamless enrollment and administration
  • Employee single-sign-on with an integrated benefits and payroll platform
  • COBRA administration 
  • Distribution of W2 forms and collecting, depositing, and reporting employment taxes
  • ACA services for applicable large employers

Woman shaking hands with an insurance broker at a meeting

How Do PEO Benefit Plans Differ from Open Market Plans?

Employers looking for small group benefits on the open market still face issues with location-based pricing and limited plan options for smaller groups. They also must navigate the complicated process of choosing the best employee plan, which can be challenging for employers without experience in this area. PEOs negotiate directly with carriers due to their large pool of clients, generally allowing them to get better coverage and better rates with more plan options that are often not otherwise available. 

What Hesitations Do Brokers Have in Partnering with PEOs?

Some brokers are hesitant to work with PEOs, even though they can offer many benefits to their benefit plan participants. Some PEOs have developed a reputation for leaving the broker out of communication with their mutual clients. 

Even with a trusted and reputable PEO, brokers sometimes experience hesitation over the loss of control. But when a broker decides to partner with a PEO like BBSI, the relationship can offer tremendous benefits. BBSI is a broker-friendly PEO that views brokers as mutual partners and invests in their success. We strive to keep the broker as involved as they want by including them in client communication and by building good relationships with the broker and their mutual clients.

Rather than cut the broker out, BBSI positions the broker as the lead in the partnership, maintaining their client relationship and offering value-add services and additional coverage options. 

How BBSI Helps Brokers Offer Their Clients More Value

With BBSI’s local Benefits Specialists and Business Unit teams, brokers can take advantage of an entire team to tackle responsibilities together. They’ll provide professional guidance on choosing the best plans, managing enrollment, and supporting administration.

Brokers who partner with BBSI can offer a variety of plan designs and rates otherwise unavailable to their clients and reclaim significant bandwidth by outsourcing administration. With a strong reputation for fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with brokers and a 95% client retention rate, BBSI consistently demonstrates it's one of the PEOs you can trust.

Reach out today to learn more about how brokers benefit from partnering with BBSI.

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Disclaimer: The contents of this white-paper/blog have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. Reference to any specific product, service, or company does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by BBSI. This white-paper/blog may include links to external websites which are owned and operated by third parties with no affiliation to BBSI. BBSI does not endorse the content or operators of any linked websites, and does not guarantee the accuracy of information on external websites, nor is it responsible for reliance on such information. The content of this white-paper/blog does not provide legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between BBSI, the author(s), or the publishers and you. You should not act or refrain from acting on any legal matter based on the content without seeking professional counsel.

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