It’s no secret that last year’s renewal season was a killer for brokers—chaotic, complex and time-consuming. Unfortunately, it was tough on clients as well, who got less face time with their brokers, and often left meetings confused about their plan options and ACA obligations.
However, last year’s difficulties creates opportunities for brokers to shine this year, and we’ve isolated three specific areas to focus on.
1. Community Rating
The entire industry knew that Community Rating would be a challenging area to contend with, in light of the Affordable Care Act. However, many brokers discovered in 2014 that it was even more complicated than anticipated.
In addition to the added complexity and work for brokers, employers were more confused than ever on their requirements under the law and how exactly community rating impacted their renewal. This is a clear opportunity for improvement.
This year, focus on clear communication with your clients on this issue, and understand that it may be confusing and tough to understand. Employing technology can be helpful to illustrate plan options and coverage details relative to community rating.
2. Premium Share
Premium share is an area where the trends are shifting, as employers try more creative ways to manage costs. Rather than having employees pay a straight premium percentage of, many employers are moving towards concepts such as wellness-based premium or employee-only coverage.
Again, the problem here is communication. Adjusting premium share opens a host of plan design options, which creates many questions and concerns for the employer. Brokers can best navigate this by presenting plans visually, preempting client questions by suggesting premium share options that make sense, and engaging in dynamic conversations to help clients understand all of their options.
3. Funding vehicles
ACA regulations also impacted funding vehicles, such as different rules for coinsurance and copays, carriers offering high-deductible discounts, and higher adoption of HSA plans. Along with the other two areas discussed, this resulted in exponentially more plan options and complexity for brokers and employers alike.
The best way to support clients through a complicated plan design discussion is using a technology solution. Innovative services allow brokers to create dynamic, digital presentations, which clearly illustrate plan options to the client while allowing for real-time adjustments to show the impact of a change.
Did you encounter any of these challenges last renewal season? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comment section below.
For more details on how to raise the bar this year, check out our free ebook, Brokers: Learn from Last Renewal Season.