compiled by Ashley Lopez, The Granite List Customer Success Team
Gen Z is just beginning the journey of navigating a complicated sea of healthcare solutions that confuses even renowned benefits veterans. The interruption of a pandemic, the immediate health focuses that emerged, and the lack of transparency brought to light in the marketplace provide a trifecta of opportunities for benefits advisors to guide employers in adapting and improving their health plan offerings.
Eager to understand the situation at hand, our interns at The Granite List tuned in to BenefitsPRO Expo to see what the future looks like and what advisors will be doing to make a difference. The following are insights from Gen Z on the delicate benefits plan design balance that separates good brokers from great.
Tips for Brokers:
Tip #1: Sell with Meaningful Benefits, not Brands
Let’s face it. Brands no longer carry the weight they once did as they seek to attract Gen Z. The emerging workforce is more concerned with the offered benefits than the name brand behind it. The normal hype the BUCAs (Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United, Cigna, and Aetna) would get with the older generation matters far less to us.
“The younger generations are far less interested in brand recognition or relationships between payor and provider,” Nick, a rising senior at Rhodes College comments. “More are focused on practical uses of healthcare rather than interpersonal connections that exist between the two.” The new generation wants to know that their health care is fitted for them in all aspects, especially mental health.
To that we say, begin selling with individualism as the focus. Gather intel on your workforce: what is the age range, disease states, financial and health literacy level and the like. The more familiar you become with your plan member demographics, the easier it will be to find vendors that add meaningful value to the benefits plan. Prioritize having a plan that covers a wide range of your employee demographic rather than a one size fits all approach often credited with the larger brands.
ProTip: If you are having trouble finding the best fit of vendors, make your way to The Granite List. We have an open market platform with an expansive selection of vendors. All you have to do is search the term or phrase you are looking for and find numerous vendors that fit your keyword search description.
Tip #2: Prioritize Mental Health
A focus on mental health in healthcare was up 17% from last year - not a surprising statistic since Covid-19 increased anxiety and depression. Many people were forced into a new reality, which caused anxiety and depression, and few of us were prepared for it.
Before Covid, it was taboo to talk about these things. Now, it has become abundantly clear that these talks are needed in order to restore balance to the workforce. Max, a junior at the University of Memphis, spoke more about the issue: “Holistic health is extremely important to focus on when appealing to employers and employees.” Gen Z doesn’t necessarily want to jump on the latest drug train to solve our problems, rather we want resources that help us deal with the root cause of them.
Erik, a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, agreed: “Gen Z is prioritizing mental health over almost anything else. This is very true because just from personal experience, mental health has become a big topic of conversation, especially on social media. It has become an open forum discussion essentially. Gen Z owns it, and we aren’t ashamed of it.”
Because of this, brokers are the ring leaders who can make a bigger push for mental health benefits, especially if employers want to increase retention and recruitment. Pivot to what the rising talent wants and demands, and we predict you’ll see adoption rates rising across the spectrum of benefits offerings as well.
Tip #3: Use Technology to Your Advantage
Covid-19 uprooted both everyday life and work life as well. People began to make sharp adjustments because of remote working. It has been a long road, but we sense that many of the turns we’ve taken have put us on a path toward greater dependence on technology.
Once Covid-19 forced many to work remotely, employers realized their employees do not need to always be in the office to be fruitful thanks to technology. Using smart tech tools still allowed for connectivity and productivity. This discovery has driven many health providers to see how technology can be of greater help in the benefits arena as well.
Gen Z sees a greater use of technology for data retention and sorting analytics, akin to how they have had to manage their course work. Andrew, a senior at Rhodes College, highlighted the importance of “clinical data to evaluate the effectiveness of health solutions by allowing purchasers to test affordability and results-based solutions.” Mike, a graduate student at the University of Memphis, agreed: “It would also allow for an easier integration between vendors in the future since it would be easier to gather data to utilize within health plans.”
“For far too long, the healthcare landscape [has remained] hidden. There is a lack of data available in the healthcare space that makes it difficult for consumers to compare prices,” according to Andrew. We see this as a hindrance for advisors and consultants too. As the push for transparency becomes viable, the healthcare industry will be subject to more educated consumers that will defy the current status and demand change.
This starts with a push for data. This will require collaboration across all areas of healthcare. Alignment will be necessary to gather data the next generation will utilize in the future. As brokers, you sit at the forefront of this change, speaking on behalf of the real “payers,” the employers. The clients you serve have a priority to retain talent and increase productivity: start with using transparent tools to improve their health plan. Our generation will thank you for it, and reward you by proving to be smart consumers of the solutions you instill.