What Broker Analytics Should Look Like

Every aspect of the business landscape is leaning into data and analytics. There has been a “Moneyball of X” blog post written for just about every industry at this point. The more that we’re able to quantify and measure every aspect of our day-to-day roles, the more insights we’re able to glean from the data. So why is there such a disparate landscape in regards to the analytics that health insurance brokers are able to provide to HR Departments?

Currently, there is a huge chasm between brokers who are leaning into more analytical solutions and brokers who are relying on their gut more than the numbers. While some brokers are adapting new employer-facing software solutions that allow them to forecast and often reduce future healthcare spend, others are doubling down on the idea that a standard carrier report provides all data their client needs.

The broker analytics space is changing fast. If you’re a broker interested in finding new ways to add value to your clients, or if you’re an HR professional looking to get better insights from your broker, here are a few things to consider.

Health Insurance Broker Analytics, Defined

First things first, what are broker analytics, and why are they important? What’s the difference between an analytics platform and a carrier report? What difference could it possibly make?

“Health Insurance Broker Analytics” is broadly defined as quantifiable metrics reported to you by your health insurance broker. However, here at Springbuk, we delineate between “broker analytics” and “broker reports.” Reports exclusively cover things that have already happened, whereas analytics glean insights from what has already happened to help you predict what might happen next.

“Broker reports” include things like your carrier reports and any other static or trend information that is given to you about what has already happened. If your insurance broker gives you a PDF outlining last year’s health costs, that’s a report. That’s not “health analytics.”

If your broker was to hand you an analysis of last year’s health spend, however, and attached to that analysis was a forecast of next year’s spend, with associated changes you could make to drive that cost down, that gets into the realm of health analytics.

The key difference is actionable insights. Data by itself doesn’t mean much. The best broker analytics provide you with action items that can help you cause positive change within your population.

Data and Analytics That Every Broker Should Provide

There is a baseline amount of data that every health insurance broker should provide. It’s rare to work with someone who can’t provide at least this level of data in their carrier reports.

  • Demographic information on your population, such as the number of employees, spouses, dependents, and average member age.
  • Pharmacy utilization data, such as the number of claims, average claims per claimant per month, and percent of claimants to members.
  • Medical utilization data, such as total medical employer claims paid, medical employer-paid percentage, claims per 1000 members, specialist visits, hospital admissions, and preventative visits.

This data alone, however, isn’t where you should stop. It’s nice to know where you have been, but the world’s best HR pros put a premium on knowing where they’re going. That’s why more brokers are starting to provide health analytics platforms that allow their clients to take this analysis into their own hands.

Next Level Insights – Additional Analytics That Brokers Can Provide

In addition to these baseline data points, many forward-thinking brokers are starting to provide analytical insights that can lead to immediate action. Some of these measures include things like:

  • Forecasting of future medical claims – A conventional carrier report tells you where you’ve been, but the future of broker analytics will show you where you’re going. Forward-thinking brokers are going out of their way to identify forecasting tools that can help their clients see into the future of their medical claims.
  • Regularly-updated analytics – Another pitfall of conventional carrier reports is their infrequency. While most of your organization is updating analytics and financial reports on a monthly basis, many HR pros are stuck waiting for a report that comes once-a-quarter or once-a-year. Many brokers are making an effort to break this chain by providing employer-facing analytics solutions that update monthly.
  • Ability to slice-and-dice data in real-time – All the data in the world isn’t very helpful if you can’t analyze it. While many carrier reports live in binders and PDFs, modern brokers are switching en masse to more user-friendly solutions for data analysis, like software platforms or Excel spreadsheets.

Unlike the data available in static reports, the information available in analytics platforms update dynamically with your population and allow you to manage your population’s health in a smarter fashion. This means that you can invest your health and wellness dollars more efficiently, identify opportunities to close gaps in care, and measure your program’s efficacy, down to dollars and cents.

To learn more about how a health analytics platform like Springbuk can provide deep insights on broker data, request a demo today.