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Voluntary Ancillary Growth is a By-Product of ACA

Posted by Laura McMullen on Fri, Jun 24, 2016

Business is booming for insurance companies specializing in ancillary benefits for employer groups – and the mandated benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act are driving the growth. A 2016 study of Form 5500 Schedule A data by analytics firm, miEdge, valued the market at more than $1 billion in 2015, a gain of 3.32% over the previous year.

Employee Benefit Advisor interviewed four ancillary companies with double-digit growth to learn more about their strategies to capitalize on this trend. Click here to read the article. Here are some highlights:

  1. Medical premiums are still growing in part due to mandated benefit provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Brokers and employers are looking for ways to offer comprehensive benefits without raising overall cost and voluntary ancillary options fit right in.
  2. Private exchanges make it easier to offer a mix of voluntary and employer-paid benefits from multiple carriers. Employees are comfortable with e-commerce so online enrollment is business-as-usual.
  3. Pediatric dental care is required by the ACA creating a new market for dental benefits. More interest and education about dental has opened the door to other ancillaries, such as vision (often sold with dental) and even legal plans.

Employee Benefit Advisor reported “the top five grossers in voluntary benefits, according to miEdge, were Delta Dental of Rhode Island (up 105.59% and over $40 million), Delta Dental of Illinois (up 99.34% and over $46 million), Combined Insurance Company of America (up 82.03% and over $81 million), Hyatt Legal Plans (up 21.12% and over $15 million), and Principal Financial Group (up 20.83% and over $14 million).”

How is your company capitalizing on this trend?

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Ancillary benefits, ACA, insurance companies, employee benefits, HIX

Should Medicare Patients Buy Vision Insurance?

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Fri, Apr 26, 2013

Many Medicare patients don't have routine vision coverageNavigating Medicare can be tricky, especially when dealing with vision expenses. While most major procedures (e.g., cataract surgery, eye diseases) are covered, routine exams and eyeglasses are not, which leaves many older Americans with a coverage gap.

As a recent Wall Street Journal article states, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, diabetes patients and those who are at high risk for glaucoma are entitled to an annual vision exam. Also, Medicare will pay for glasses and contact lenses for post-cataract surgery patients who have had a conventional “intraocular” lens inserted during the operation. And Medicare Advantage planholders, who have insurance plans that are run by private insurers, are typically covered for basic exams and prescription eyewear, but their vision provider network may be limited.

While those who don’t meet the criteria for routine vision coverage can save money by shopping for glasses or contacts through discount retailers, such as Wal-Mart or Costco, or through online retailers, such as Coastal.com, it seems the gaps in Medicare coverage may present an opportunity for vision insurers and brokers.  I would love to hear from readers – especially those in the vision industry. Do you think it makes sense for Medicare beneficiaries to seek voluntary supplemental vision insurance to cover gaps? 

Tags: Ancillary benefits, Vision insurance, medicare

3 Steps to Using Competitive Network Advantage to Win More Business

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Thu, Apr 11, 2013

Helpful Tips

I’m often asked how to use a competitive provider network advantage to win more business.  As I talk to NetMinder users, one of the best and easiest ways I hear is to leverage your network advantage to negotiate for better rates for prospects in your sales pipeline.  Try these three steps:

  1. For key prospects, assess your network compared to competitors.  Do you have more providers in areas with significant concentrations of your prospects’ employees?  Are you the market leader?
  2. Provide this data to your underwriting team.  Stress the expected higher in-network utilization and lower claim costs that will result.
  3. Demonstrate to your prospect how your network advantage will save them money.

As I wrote in Chapter 7 of Dental Benefits: A Guide to Managed Plans, the network is the product.  A competitive provider network strengthens your sales pitch! Try this approach and let me know if you see results.

Tags: network providers, dental insurance, insurance broker, Ancillary benefits, Vision insurance

Join Me at World Congress!

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Wed, Feb 20, 2013

World Congress logoHealth plans, insurance carriers and brokers will convene March 13-15, 2013, to learn how to leverage ancillary and voluntary products to increase their competitive edge and meet the needs of a consumer-driven market.

The World Congress 3rd Annual Leadership Summit on Ancillary Products and Voluntary Benefits will take place in Orlando and feature industry-leading speakers from CIGNA, United Healthcare, VSP Visioncare, Integrated Benefits Institute, Prudential, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Plan Week and more. Session topics include meeting consumer needs, health reform, member acquisition, public and private healthcare exchanges, business innovations and other issues affecting the healthcare industry.

Join me on March 14th as I present “Using BIG Data to Get BIG Results in Ancillary Benefits.” We will explore the following ideas:

  • What’s big data? Does it apply to healthcare?
  • Learn how other carriers are using their big data to create competitive advantages.
  • Teach your sales and network teams to leverage big data to get big results.

If you'd like to attend the World Congress, be sure to register with promo code TAU676 and save $400 off of your attendance fee! (Discount is not valid toward government rates.)

I would love to see you in Orlando. Will you be attending the summit? 

Tags: dental insurance, Ancillary benefits, Vision insurance, Managed Care, Specialty Benefits, Ancillary Products, Voluntary Benefits, Benefit Design, Benefits Consultants, Insurance Brokers, Health plan, World Congress

 

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