Peanut butter and jelly. Movies and popcorn. Health care and retirement plans. Some things just go together.
While financial professionals have long separated health care and retirement plans in their work, the two live together in employers’ minds as part of a total benefits package. Indeed, the association is so strong – and the combination so compelling – that financial professionals may want to embrace packaging the two.
To do this, consider forming an alliance with benefits consultants. Together, you can present a cohesive “wealth care” solution that strengthens your competitive advantage – and theirs.
Before we delve into details, let’s review the landscape.
Employees are increasingly fatigued and overwhelmed by benefits complexities.
Education is also lacking. According to a 2023 report from Optavise, only 27% of employees say they received their information from their employer’s HR team.§
Employers’ highest value investment, from a pure expenditure perspective, is the employee health care plan. Let’s compare:
Based on these examples, health care can cost 25 times as much as a 401(k) plan. It makes sense, then, for employers to focus more of their time and HR budget on health care.
Because benefits consultants offer extensive health care knowledge, they often have the ear of employers, but they are not competitors to financial professionals who work with retirement plans. Rather, they can be teammates and collaborators.
Both benefits consultants and plan professionals have value to offer one another in what could be a fruitful and symbiotic relationship.
By combining the wealth management experience of a retirement plan professional and the health care knowledge of a benefits consultant, you can create an employer-centric total benefits package. That’s wealth care.
As a bundle, wealth care can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Here are four things you can do to put together a wealth care package.
Save the employer time by scheduling meetings together to work in tandem on a total benefits package. When you coordinate your timelines with a benefits consultant and visit together, you’re able to increase impact by telling a joint story.
Think about employees signing on for a new job. They get to discuss the 401(k) at the same time they make their health plan elections, making their lives easier and the employer’s ability to retain top talent greater. This best practice should happen not only in the onboarding process but also annually or even quarterly.
A co-branded pack of resources for the employer and employee is a tangible takeaway you can offer. It can include combined resources, like:
The joint resource pack can make it easy for the employer to pass along valuable benefits information to workers, which in turn demonstrates their (and your) commitment to employee well-being.
You’re used to crafting a value proposition for clients and plan sponsors, but in pitching collaboration with a benefits consultant, you’re speaking to a whole new selling vector.
Your value proposition to a benefits consultant includes:
You can also indicate if you have knowledge in health care matters that affect retirement, like health savings accounts (HSAs) and Medicare.
HSAs can be powerful tax-advantaged investment vehicles, and their adoption rate is rising along with high-deductible health plan (HDHP) enrollment. In a joint discussion, the benefits consultant can refer the investment discussion to you. These may be dollars that you can keep on your side of the benefits/retirement equation.
Medicare is a key retirement consideration for many people, but benefits consultants and employers lack incentive to talk about it. Here you can make a difference.
Key topics to cover regarding Medicare include:
To make yourself indispensable in benefits conversations and improve your pitch, take time to brush up on the language of health care and resources that may help participants in unexpected ways.
Explore and bookmark sites like:
Regardless of your approach to aligning with benefits consultants, becoming more conversant in issues employers and participants care about will only help increase your value.
As the benefits environment expands, benefits consultants and aggregators will continue to gain significance. This shift in dynamics can be an incredible opportunity if you embrace these professionals as allies. Together, you have the tools and knowledge to help employers create a cohesive benefits package that cares for employees’ health and wealth. That’s the synergy of wealth care.
* Kaiser Family Foundation “KFF Survey of Consumer Experiences with Health Insurance,” June 2023.
† Bank of America, “2023 Workplace Benefits Report: The transforming workplace,” August 2023.
‡ Voya, “Almost three-quarters of benefit-eligible Americans are more likely to work for an employer offering voluntary benefits, according to new Voya survey,” February 10, 2022.
§Optavise, “2023 Healthcare Literacy Report,” July 2023.
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