The Patient Protection and Affordable Care act is creating enormous opportunities for brokers to sell supplemental plans, not only to help cover increasing deductibles in employer-based and exchange-based plans, but also as a cheaper alternative to both.
The opportunities to sell supplemental health plans to cover out-of-pocket expenses when illness or accidents occur are coming from a variety of fronts, experts say. As more employers face mandates to provide major medical insurance to their employees, most will likely opt for plans with high deductibles to mitigate the additional costs — increasing the need for supplemental plans.
Whether or not employers are funding supplemental plans for their workers, employers are still saving dollars because they have lowered their base health care costs by choosing plans with higher deductibles, Johnson says.
“There is enormous opportunity for brokers and insurance agents who sell supplemental policies to do even more of that because of PPACA,” says Michael Zuna, chief marketing officer at Aflac Inc. in Columbus, Ga.
Unum also has spent a lot of resources investing in simplified enrollment solutions for smaller employers, which are designed to make it easier for them to offer supplemental financial protection.
“Having a benefits counselor siting one-on-one with employees discussing all of the voluntary benefits options makes sense for larger employers, but when you get under the 100-employee market, that’s an expensive model,” Culbertson says.
The growth of self-insuring
Bill Brann and Mike Tracy are founders of Obamacare Alternatives, an insurance agency based in Corpus Christi, Texas, that sells critical illness plans and other products to employees of small businesses, including those whose employers do not offer health insurance and who choose to not buy plans on the exchanges. Sales have doubled from last year.