Door to doctor's office Employerswith a significant number of non-benefited employees need tounderstand that there's actual business value to offering gapcoverage like direct primary care.

|

Dear brokers: You're ignoring a huge segment of non-benefitedemployees during open enrollment and, in the process, you'releaving thousands of revenue dollars for yourself on the table.Direct primary care has become a key enrollment strategy to fillthe non-benefited gap. If you're new to this conversation, the goodnews is that direct primary care is an easy sell. Employees need itto fill their gaps in coverage, and employers are surprised at howaffordable it is.

|

The rise of the gig economy, coinciding with increasedregulations for full-time employees, means nearly every U.S.industry employs a substantial amount of part-time and contractworkers. Brokers have historically overlooked these employeesbecause they don't qualify for traditional employer healthinsurance coverage.

|

Related: The state of benefits in the gigeconomy

|

According to an analysis of U.S. Bureau and Labor Statistics bycareer website Zippia, about half of construction workers areuninsured, as well as more than 30 percent of restaurant workers.Drivers, nurses and retail workers often fall into this "others"area, as do dozens of other occupations. Consider that, out of theemployers you're serving, you're now ignoring 30 percent, 40percent, even 50 percent of their workforces' needs.

|

What if, during this enrollment season, you consider this vastsegment of employees on the fringes? What if you offered ways foremployers to bring them into the fold with low-cost benefits thatkeep them happy and healthy? Direct primary care is making ithappen, but education is still needed regarding this emerging trendand how brokers can leverage it to enroll non-benefited employees,in particular.

First, understand what it is

Direct primary care isn't insurance. Instead, it's a health caremembership that can be offered as a standalone benefit or used tosupplement high-deductible health plans and catastrophic plans byproviding affordable, fixed-cost access to day-to-day services likeprimary care, telehealth and prescriptions.

|

As insurance rates increase (they're expected to climb another 5percent next year, according to the Nation Business Group onHealth), employers are being forced to move to plans with higherdeductibles. Direct primary care can bridge employee expenses tomeet these high deductibles. Now here's the magic: With its lowcost and low barrier to entry, those same direct primary care planscan be offered to part-time and other non-benefited employees.

Then, discover who needs it

Restaurant workers, drivers, nurses and retail workers havealready been mentioned as occupations with high levels ofnon-benefited employees. Ask the right questions, and you'll findthat most employers have similar groups of non-benefited employeeswho would embrace a direct primary care offering. Only, you mightneed to dig a little deeper to find them.

|

Compare an employer's total number of workers with the number ofworkers you're currently covering (or are considering covering).What about the "others"? Why aren't they offered health benefits?You might find the actual employee population you can serve withthat employer is double the original amount you thought it was.

|

Remember to think creatively. What about unions? Many havecollective bargaining agreements that require benefits even thoughsome members may work part-time or hold down several jobs. Directprimary care can be offered to these members, giving them avaluable and transferable benefit that they can utilize for theirday-to-day care.

Next, educate those employers

Employers may have a vague idea that direct primary care exists,but they don't understand why they should take advantage of it.Many assume it's too expensive or that there's no value inintroducing new benefits to employees who've never received thembefore.

|

Those assumptions can be highly detrimental to business.

|

Consider the many studies on employee recruitment, retention,and workplace wellness. Talented part-time and other non-benefitedemployees are highly valuable and can be lured away by better perksjust as easily as full-time employees. There is also a real andmeasurable business value that results from encouraging employeeutilization of preventative and easy-to-access medical care, soillnesses and injuries don't derail an otherwise uninsuredworkforce.

|

Employers with a significant number of non-benefited employeesneed to understand that there's actual business value to offeringgap coverage like direct primary care. The opportunity to do so isever-expanding as insurance premiums and deductibles increase, andas fewer individuals choose to participate in the health insurancemarketplace.

Finally, don't overcomplicate it

Traditional health insurance is anything but transparent andeasy to understand. The White House even acknowledges that and istaking a stab at spearheading change with a recent executive orderto improve price and quality transparency in American health care.Direct primary care tackles this issue head-on by being sostraightforward it can be disarming for brokers and employersalike.

|

Qualifying for direct primary care offerings can be as simple ashaving at least 10 enrollees, and the cost can be as low as $45 peremployee per month. By design, these plans eliminate claims,pre-existing conditions, and other complications. The reason theywork isn't because of smoke and mirrors (as one could argue hasbeen the key to success for the big insurance companies), butbecause they can fulfill a critical need for non-benefitedindividuals, those who employ them, and even the health careproviders who provide the services. It can be as simple asthat.

|

There's not a loser in the direct primary care world. Theemployer can attract and retain great talent without a hugeexpense, employees get something tangible that helps them stayhealthy at a fixed cost, and brokers have a gap coverage productthat can start paying off right away to help fund open enrollment.That's why direct primary care is becoming the thing to watch thisopen enrollment season. However, just like anything new to thescene, those who take the time to understand the concept and learnhow to leverage it will have the leg up.

|

Andy Bonner is the CEO and co-founder ofHealthcare2U,a nationwide, integrated direct primary care organization.

|

Read more: 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.