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Stand Out in a Field of Brown Cows Read the Article that originally appeared in Health Insurance Underwriter magazine

This article originally appeared in Health Insurance Underwriter magazine

Stand Out

in a Field of Brown Cows by Offering a Discount Benefit Card

Purple Cow

There's a popular marketing book making the rounds right now. It's called the Purple Cow.

In it, author Seth Godin says that for a company to stand out in a crowd it must find a way to make itself "remarkable" – in other words, become a purple cow in a field of brown cows.

Godin describes "remarkable" this way: "Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. Boring stuff is invisible. It's a brown cow."

Godin offers examples of purple cows and what makes them remarkable: The Four Seasons for customer service, Vanguard for its low-cost mutual funds, for the way it sells books. All of these companies came up with a new, interesting or exceptional way of doing business and have profited handsomely because of it.

What does all of this have to do with the healthcare brokerage industry?

Well folks, let's face it, when it comes to being remarkable we're not exactly Ben & Jerry's or Google. Most of us are brown cows – boring, predictable and all pretty much the same.

The good news is that there are ways for healthcare brokers to become purple cows, and as a result, see their bottom lines soar. One of those ways is to offer a discount benefit card for free or at a reduced rate to your clients' employees. These cards – which are not insurance – provide the holders with discounts on services that their employer may not offer. For example, a dental discount card may provide holders with 15-50* percent off services such as fillings and cleanings from thousands of dentists across the country.

These cards can typically be used by the immediate family, have no limit on the
number of times they can be used, have no health restrictions, provide an immediate discount at the time of service, and involve no

In addition to dental services, there is a growing list of things employers don't offer these days, including vision screenings, glasses, certain prescriptions, hearing aids, vitamins, and nutritional products. There are discount programs out there in all of those areas.

All it takes to offer your clients a discount card is a little time, some legwork and a bit of an investment. Let me tell you about my experience and why it's worked for me.

For years I have made my company stand out by providing excellent customer service and extra HR services at no cost to the client.

But while this provided me with an edge over my competition, something was still missing. Then one day it dawned on me: I was taking great care of the employer by offering free HR services, but I wasn't giving the employees much besides being there to answer coverage questions and resolving claim issues.

After many hours of thought and passing numerous ideas by my wife (sorry honey!) I decided to try offering a discount benefit card to all of my clients' employees and their immediate families at no cost to them. To start, I purchased a discount vision card that provided reduced pricing on vision screenings and glasses. It was a big hit.

About a year later I decided to add a discount legal plan. After researching various options I found the cost too expensive. So I took the best of what I found, brought the information to a lawyer friend of mine and the two of us created our own plan just for my clients. Again, another big hit.

I have since added discount plans for hearing screenings and hearing aids, prescription drugs, and health and wellness plans. And I have pulled all my plans together onto one card for the convenience of the holders. This is all something any broker can do.

Not surprisingly all of this has been met with rave reviews. While there is certainly a cost to me for providing this card, I've managed to do it all without declaring bankruptcy. In fact, just the opposite has happened.

The discount benefit card has turned my company into a purple cow.

Not only has it changed the way my clients and prospects look at my company, it has also boosted my employee's morale. Why? Because my eight salespeople now land seven out of 10 prospects they approach, largely because of the services found on the card.

My advice: go find out what benefits your clients' employees lack and then put together a package that will address their needs. Then stand back and watch as you go from a brown cow to a purple cow.

*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service and geographical area.

The Atlantic Benefit Card provides discounts on dental care, vision care, prescriptions, legal services, hearing aids, vitamins, supplements and personal care products. For more information send us a message online or call 1-800-918-3070.