In a recent survey conducted by Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. titled Health Care Reform: Private Exchanges & Voluntary Frontline Report™, carriers indicated that brokers are increasingly looking to their carriers for help in navigating through the new private exchange environment. Not only do brokers want advice on product options and sales strategies, claim the carriers, but also on new regulatory, compliance, and tax impacts for their clients. Carriers also believe that brokers will need to become more consultative in their approach with clients. In their opinion, it will become more about offering a wider array of products and more communication overall. Carriers believe that all sizes of brokers will be involved in the private exchange market, but that larger brokers will be earlier adopters of technology and change. Small- to mid-size brokers will most likely need to purchase or partner with technology vendors to offer private exchanges to their clients.
The carriers also indicated that private exchanges will have many more positive impacts on the voluntary/worksite business than negative effects. One positive is the increased knowledge and awareness of voluntary benefits by employers and even more so with employees as they become the primary decision maker in the private exchange market. Other positives include the emergence of new distribution channels for voluntary and more packaging of voluntary products with other products like HSAs, both resulting in increased voluntary sales. As for negatives, the carriers believe that, over time, there may be commoditization of voluntary products and services possibly causing a downward pressure on rates, carrier margins, and broker compensation.
The 2013 Health Care Reform: Private Exchanges & Voluntary Frontline Report™ examines voluntary carriers’ strategy for addressing health care reform and more specifically, private exchanges. With this information, voluntary carriers can compare and contrast their own strategy to what other key voluntary players are doing to prepare for the new health care exchange landscape.
Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada.