In The Worksite

The “Voluntary” Status-Quo Isn’t Acceptable Either

Are we under-serving the true end-user: employees?

by Eric Silverman

Mr. Silverman is Founder and Owner of Voluntary Disruption, the “adviser’s adviser,” a division of Silverman Benefits Group (SBG). He is an Amazon “Best Selling” Author featured in the new book: Breaking Through The Status Quo. Connect with him by voice and text at (443) 676-0340, by email;, or at his website –

Part II in a four-part series.

“I can’t comprehend how and why it’s only important to save the employer money, but it’s not important to care about the employee-funded products.”

Group health brokers who sell themselves as being innovative and non-status-quo continue to ignore enhanced (voluntary) benefits, thus serving only half their clients and arguably snubbing those who need their cost-saving strategies the most: the employees.

The buzzwords over the last few years have all circled around the idea of not being “status-quo.”

Independent brokers from all over the country are focusing on being innovative, cutting edge and creative. They’re shunning the top-50 broker shops and other brokers who’re still pushing the fully-insured BUCAHs and they’re preaching from the hilltops about their ground-breaking solutions designed to help employers mitigate their health care expenses.

The employer saves money, and the broker looks like a hero. But here’s a question: What about the employee-funded dollars? Sure, when the employer saves money, it should result in an employee savings as well, but when it comes to what the industry still calls “voluntary,” or what I call “enhanced,” brokers are still, by and large, doing nothing innovative around the benefits that are typically 100 percent employee funded. Thus, they’re implying that it’s OK to be status quo when it comes to “voluntary.”

Really? When it comes to the actual, hard-working employees — the people who are voluntarily spending their own hard-earned money on benefits to protect themselves over and above where their health insurance leaves off — it’s perfectly fine, okay, and normal to be status-quo?

I say this because even the most advanced group brokers are still ignoring enhanced benefits. Or, if it falls in their lap, they’ll begrudgingly outsource it to some random carrier rep who, more often than not, is going to do a product dump that’s going to lead to the employee overspending on benefits and products that likely don’t make any sense for them — all to get to the inevitable commission grab.

Ultimately, the employee suffers because the broker either wasn’t paying attention, thinks the carrier rep route is easier, or both.

Here’s the truth – isn’t it two-faced to preach how innovative you are when it comes to employer funded health insurance, when you’re only innovative for half of your business? I can’t comprehend how and why it’s only important to save the employer money, but it’s not important to give-a-damn about the employee-funded products. After all, isn’t the employee the end-user, the true consumer of healthcare, and isn’t all of this for them anyway?

I can’t comprehend how and why it’s only important to save the employer money, but it’s not important to care about the employee-funded products...

Strategic Approach

I’m not telling you to not save your employer client money. I’m not arguing that employers should have status-quo benefits. That’s not my point at all.

For every 10 employees who are properly educated about enhanced benefits via self-service enrollment technology or one-on-one in-person or virtual; do you have any idea how many employees typically participate on average? Four to seven, respectively. That’s a 40 to 70 percent take rate.

You see, it’s not a matter of if employees are going to choose to participate in various enhanced benefits, but more a matter of if they’re going to have a strategic product bundling put in place that is bespoke, customized and in concert with the current health insurance strategy that the health broker and their employer has worked so hard to put together.

Right now, most employees don’t have that option. Instead, they have a status-quo shelf product offering. The carrier rep sits down and just pumps them full of extra products that they may or may not need — typically at the highest rates with the most riders, bells, and whistles and with little-to-no rhyme or reason for why they were offered in the first place.

By the way, I’m not bashing the largest “voluntary” carriers. When appropriate, I customize, offer, and recommend products from the largest carriers, too. The reality though, is that it’s not about the carrier; it’s about the methodology, delivery system, and go-to-market strategy, or lack thereof.

As a broker, if you’re going to preach about how innovative, resourceful, and great you are, and how you’re not status-quo – then please make sure you do it for the entire benefits package. Don’t stop after you’re done with the employer-funded or largely employer-subsidized health insurance.

Do you agree? Do you disagree? I’ve shared my opinion, now you share yours – send me a message on social media or contact me directly through my website. Also, if you’ve seen value in this and you feel so inclined, I wouldn’t object to you sharing this article on Linkedin and any of your other favorite social media channels – please don’t forget to tag me. Until next time, don’t just have a great month – make it a great month!