Employee Benefits Checklists and Myths #6

Welcome to Part 6 of our Employee Benefits Marketing series – A checklist of items to properly market employee benefits and the myths associated with each step. Employee Benefits Marketing Checklists and Myths #6 discusses cost comparisons and quoted premiums.

The 10 Point Employee Benefits Marketing Checklist was created to equip advisors and employers with effective tools and information that go beyond marketing, simply based on price. Our checklist is now available in the CloudAdvisors Solution Library. Search for “CloudAdvisors” or contact an employee benefit specialist who is #poweredbyCloudAdvisors to share it with you.

Employee Benefits Marketing Checklist #6: Cost Comparison of Unit Rates and Fees

Cost Comparison is often the only item for many employers, though it is near the middle of our checklist. Whether intentionally or not, Brokers are motivated to “show the numbers” and present the basic premium savings between providers. However, comparing total premiums instead of unit rates can be misleading. It can cause employers to buy into the optics of saving money without all the information.

All self-insured benefits have a unit rate or fee that is charged on a volume basis to calculate the total premium or benefit cost per line item. A true comparison evaluates the unit rates independently of volume, or at least compares equivalent volumes to show comparable premiums.

The volume of insurance may be as simple as the number of singles, couples or families on a benefit plan. However, life and disability volumes are calculated on the total dollars at risk. Benefit volumes are based on a multiple of earnings and can be calculated and quoted at different volumes by different providers. A true comparison should compare the base unit rates although many variables can produce a premium.

Here are some common variations missed when looking at total premium instead of a unit rate:

  • Provider underwriting calculates volume differently
  • Inaccurately provided volume to the quoting broker
  • Volume based on plan deviations including eligibility or evidence of insurability
  • The variation of volume based on the time period of the quote (recent employee turnover)
  • Volume based on quotation assumptions such as participation
  • Overall Premium savings do not differentiate between Employee and Employer Savings

Marketing Myth #6: Quoted Premium is Equal to Future Benefit Costs

This is false. If an employer is presented a quote comparison instead of a detailed proposal and the overall premium is lower, this may not equal a lower overall cost on the next monthly invoice.

Unit rates are guaranteed for a period, but premiums are calculated and invoiced monthly, based on changes in volume. For several reasons, the actual invoiced monthly cost will vary from the quote provided upon application.It is misleading to directly assume the overall premium is equal to overall costs. For a true cost comparison, premiums should be evaluated line by line to see where savings are being generated, either from employer-paid benefits or employee-paid benefits.

Employers should also not assume the overall premium will be their cost in future years (an upcoming renewal myth). Note that the month to month volume changes with employee turnover and payroll. In addition to a proper proposal and unit rate comparison, an Advisor can present costs as an average per person / per certificate to show the true dynamic nature of benefit costs.

You can find more information about Employee Benefits Checklists and Myths #6 in our solution library.

Build your best team

Get started with a free account to explore, compare, and shop employee benefits on demand. Start offering benefits your people actually want – and start seeing recruiting results fast.

Join 15,000 Employers With Competitive Benefit Plans

Compare benefit plans, quotes, benchmarking, and providers in real time – all in one marketplace at no cost, and no obligation.

What is an employee benefits plan booklet?

It's a document provided by your employee benefits provider that details the coverage level, types of benefits, and cost of your plan. Ask your advisor or your provider to provide you with this document.

If you're still unsure, reach out to us at [email protected] and we can show you examples.


CloudAdvisors will connect you to an Advisor partner in your area. You'll receive login details so you can start browsing solutions and quotes today!