As an employer himself, Sanjay Singh, hCentive’s CEO and co-founder, says he understands first-hand the problems employers are facing at a time of rising insurance rates and decreasing health plan alternatives. He recently sat down with Employee Benefit News to describe his vision for multi-carrier benefit platforms and how they can provide employers with greater transparency and more options from which to choose.

[Sanjay Singh]
[Sanjay Singh]

EBN: What are the biggest benefit challenges facing small to midsize businesses?

Singh: There is really no easy way to control health benefit costs, which keep rising. I can tell you this from my own experience. Each year we felt helpless, because if you want to provide benefits your costs go up. As an employer you really have no control. Many times brokers do not give employers the tools they would like. Today, technology lets us shop and compare for every other aspect of our life, but none of that is available when you’re shopping for benefits.

How are employers navigating those challenges?

Singh: This is where they need help. Many rely on brokers, whom they want to serve them as advisers--someone with specialized knowledge. Employers need someone who is available and can be relied on for specific information about benefit options and choices that are available. This type of specialized knowledge is what’s expected for advisers in every other field.

What else should SMBs be looking for from their brokers?

Singh: In addition to the strong relationships with insurers that these brokers bring to the table, they need to support their clients with sophisticated tools that can help employers and their employees make better decisions.

Why is a multicarrier platform so critical, in your view?

Singh: It’s not about multicarrier platforms as much as it is about choices. If I’m making a shopping decision, I can go and compare various options. But with benefits, I feel that many times I’m required to make that decision based on very limited information and choices. If you have a multicarrier platform, then employers can navigate among those choices and make a decision that makes the most sense to them.

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