As promised in our last post of 2013, here are the top 3 resolutions that brokers should consider adopting for the new year, plus a few extras to make you even more successful.
Resolution #1: Learn the Law
Seriously, no more messing around. Health reform is here, and insurance advisors will be expected to know the rules. Yes, they’re constantly changing, but it’s your job to keep up with them. Without a thorough understanding of the law and how it impacts individuals and employers in different situations, it’s impossible to determine what’s best for our group and individual clients.
But the good news is that knowledge is power. Well-informed agents will be in demand this year, so that extra time you spend learning about the legislation will pay big dividends.
Resolution #2: Give Impartial Advice
Above all else, an insurance agent’s job is to give good advice to his or her clients. You have a fiduciary responsibility to recommend the best solutions, regardless of how you will be compensated. In the past, this was fairly easy to do since most employers are simply choosing between Carrier A and Carrier B, and most insurance companies have similar commission structures.
In the new world of health reform, though, employers are deciding between offering coverage and not offering coverage, and increasingly the best advice brokers can give is to dissolve the group health plan so employees can access the government subsidies. This isn’t easy to do – especially if a broker doesn’t have a system in place to assist those employees with individual products and replace the income lost when the group plan goes away.
Resolution #3: Increase Your Capacity
We know – that’s a weird way to put it, but that really is what brokers need to do. There’s just too much potential business out there to help everyone one-on-one. Brokers who choose the one-individual-at-a-time approach could spend a full week signing up a single small group that decides to drop its employer-sponsored health plan.
Instead, brokers need to invest in a good, proven solution that can help them handle the volume. A private exchange paired with a nationwide call center can do the trick – it can free up your time so you can see more prospects.
Resolution #4: Work Smarter AND Harder
Setting up a private exchange site to increase your capacity is an example of working smarter. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard. Once you have your site set up, you need to get out there and see as many prospects as you possibly can – there’s no shortage of people to talk to, but you do have to go see them. This is how you fill the funnel with leads so the call center can close the sales for you.
Lots of employers will make the decision to drop coverage in 2014, and when they do, that will create a special enrollment opportunity for their employees that want to buy coverage in the individual market. Groups that don’t currently offer coverage, companies with lots of part-time workers, and associations are other great prospects – your private exchange solution can help them all.
Resolution #5: Think Outside the Box
When you’re looking for a solution for your clients, you need to be creative. If you’re keeping your first two resolutions – learning the law and giving impartial advice – this should be easy. For instance, understanding how the subsidies and penalties work can help you realize that the best advice for some clients who don’t qualify for a subsidy could be to forego ACA-compliant coverage and purchase a less-expensive short-term medical plan that can help protect their families from an unexpected medical claim.
Resolution #6: Have Fun!
Last but not least, try to enjoy yourself. This is a time of great change in the health insurance industry, and that gives us an opportunity to talk to a lot of people and come up with creative solutions that can have a huge impact on their health and their finances. We work in a great industry, and there’s never been a more exciting time.
At Health Partners America, we wish you a healthy and prosperous new year, and we truly hope we can be part of your success. Good luck!