The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has caused headaches for the health care industry since it was passed — and benefits professionals have not been immune. Since the law’s passage, many employers — large and small — have ended long-term and short-term relationships with their benefits brokers. Some employers have simply moved employees over to PPACA’s exchanges, while others have opted for self-funding or simply found a better deal with someone else.
“It’s always been a part of the business, but it’s accelerated greatly over the past year, year-and-half,” says John Gaglione of Group Plan Solutions in Pekin, Ill. “It’s been a difficult time in the employee benefits business for a lot of agents. Ever since 2008, when the market crashed, there have been a number of companies ending business relationships. There’s not much you can do about it.”
“You don’t want to burn your bridges,” Gaglione says. “Things have a way of changing. If things don’t work out, you can say, ‘I’m here. I’m familiar with your account.’ Sometimes, a client will blame an agent for something that’s completely out of their control. When rates change, sometimes agents get blamed for that.”
Susan Emery, of Emery Benefit Solutions in Auburn Hills, Mich., says that no matter what the reason for losing a client, it’s an opportunity to analyze the situation and learn from it.