Resources & Insights

Stop Playing a Small Employee Benefits Game – Play Like the Pros

June 28, 2022

Legendary coach John Wooden said, “nothing will work unless you do.” As with many of Wooden’s timeless insights, that truth applies to more than athletics. Your healthcare benefits strategy lies in the balance between failure and success, contingent on your grit and willingness to put in the work.

In this season of exciting sports (go Avs!), there’s no better time to consider how a winning mindset and willingness to work can positively impact your benefits strategy. Of course, we all want to be champions – at home and work – but few of us are willing to deploy the energy needed to be great.

When I speak with companies about cutting-edge, albeit complex, healthcare strategies, I am usually met with heads nodding in agreement. All too often, that is where it ends. I want to challenge companies and leaders to ask more questions and dig deeper.  We want championship results for our companies and employees but aren’t willing to put in a championship effort. The outcomes of our benefit plans directly correlate to the work we pour into them.

Rethink your Game Plan

We’ve been lulled to sleep in this arena, thinking we are at the mercy of national carriers, pharmacy benefit contracts, and high-cost claims. “A claim is a claim is a claim,” is the refrain I repeatedly hear. “There’s nothing we can do.” I wholeheartedly disagree.

While hitting the “easy” button year after year is convenient, it won’t deliver the results you need to support your business in an evolving economy. Without a proactive approach to reviewing and rethinking your coverage strategy and carrier partners, you’ll miss the results you have hoped for.

Shuffle Your Lineup

Many companies get stuck on autopilot and renew with the same mindset year after year, not realizing there are other innovative options and partners with better solutions. It’s crucial to collaborate with an insurance consultant (rather than a transactional broker) to leverage the expert insights of someone who can navigate the complexities of creating a championship program.

Identify Your Weak Spots

Does your coverage include cost management strategies for some of the most common surgical procedures? How does your plan account for rising healthcare costs? Becker’s Hospital Review estimates that the cost of treating patients will increase by 6.5% in 2022. In addition, 15% of Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance reported that they deferred healthcare in 2020, so more people will need routine care and elective procedures in the coming years. Frankly, there is a tidal wave of claims coming from deferred care. What strategic steps are you taking to prepare your business?

Here are some questions I would recommend asking to see if your insurance partner is right for you:

  • What cost-containment strategies do you plan to implement for us this year?
  • Do you work with high-value, best-in-class TPAs and PBMs?
  • How much of your group healthcare advice is rooted in bonafide claims data?
    • Or are you trusting the opaque and nebulous data vs. transparent and clear data? Both types exist.
  • Do you act as a fiduciary of our health plan (similar to a 401k)?
  • How are you being compensated?

If you don’t feel confident in their answers, it’s time to rethink your bench.

Stay in it for the Long Game

Designing and building a comprehensive, customized plan isn’t a short-term solution. It takes patience, curiosity, and a willingness to bring your goal to fruition. Assembling the right team of experts and partners, architecting an agreed-upon strategy, and leveraging data to ensure you’re in the best possible position is a multi-year commitment. Leaders and companies who challenge the norm and put in hard work know that without championship risks, you’ll never have championship results.


Mike Burch is the Vice President of Employee Benefits at CCIG. He can be reached at or 720-212-2070.

CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.

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