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Heard About HealthCare.gov? Your Customers May Already Be Using It.

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Wed, Jan 02, 2013

describe the imageIf you haven’t already been to HealthCare.gov, I suggest you visit. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced the website as a way for consumers to shop for health insurance, and businesses are also using it to research group plan options for their employees.

HealthCare.gov includes information from hundreds of insurers about thousands of coverage plans in all 50 states. This tool can be especially useful for small businesses looking for cost and coverage estimates for small groups and options for in-network versus out-of-network benefits, deductibles and co-pays.

HHS launched the site about a year ago under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Users can submit basic information about the type of insurance coverage they need (for an individual or group of up to 50 employees) to generate a list of results with estimated costs and advanced filtering options.

What does this mean for brokers and payers? Consumers and business owners are hungry for information and they have the tools to start the research phase of the buying process on their own. However, as they move further down the sales funnel, they would benefit from the guidance of an experienced insurance professional who is knowledgeable about the available benefit options and able to provide more accurate pricing as well as a competitive network adequacy assessment.

So, have you been to HealthCare.gov? How do you think consumers and businesses will use it?

Tags: health insurance, Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, insurance broker, healthcare reform, health reform, Obamacare, employee benefits, benefits advisor

Affordable Care Act Makes Strategic Benefits Advisors More Important Than Ever

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Wed, Dec 12, 2012

I recently attended a presentation by Beverly Beattie, president and CEO of Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors, Inc. Beverly addressed an audience of entrepreneurs and small business owners and explained the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on the increasingly complex and competitive employee benefits marketplace.  While many in the industry assume that brokers will become marginalized as a result of healthcare reform, I came away from the presentation believing that a strategic benefits advisor is more important than ever.

Businesses have many decisions to make over the next 12-24 months as the healthcare reform law is implemented. For example, businesses with 50 or more employees have to decide if they will “pay or play.”  Will they opt out and pay penalties or offer employee health insurance when the new rules go into effect in 2014? Many employers who do not currently offer health insurance may decide to do so after performing a cost-benefit analysis – which, of course, is good news for insurers.

It’s important for health care companies to identify those brokers and advisors in their distribution channel who are truly strategic (versus transactional), because I believe these will be the best sources for the new business opportunities that are certain to result from the complexities and changes of healthcare reform.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, insurance broker, healthcare reform, health reform, Obamacare, benefits advisor

 

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