It’s all in how you spin it

As the Affordable Care Act continues to unravel before our eyes, the administration is having a difficult time explaining what the intentions were, what went wrong, and, most importantly, what they’re going to do about it. And somewhere along the way, the approval rating started to slip. And then it slipped some more.

After nearly four years of fairly constant numbers – about half the country supported the law and half opposed it – more and more people are turning against the administration and wishing this thing would just go away.

What will ultimately happen remains to be seen, but there is a lesson to be learned from the administration’s struggles: communication is critical, and once you lose the crowd it’s difficult to get them back. Brokers should keep this in mind during their employee presentations.

One of the benefits of partnering with HPA is that you have access to a weekly coaching call. During this call, brokers receive updates on the health reform law, marketing ideas that will help them take advantage of the opportunity it creates, and tips on explaining the various strategies to their clients.

The subject of today’s coaching call is “how to tell employees they’re losing their coverage”.

Most brokers recognize that the ACA is causing employers to re-think their benefits and that there will be a shift from the group to the individual health insurance market.

And while many employers may see the benefit of dropping their group health plan so their employees can access the premium tax credit, they may be a little reluctant to pull the trigger because they’re not quite sure how to tell their employees. So, in this week’s coaching call, we’re going to show you. HPA has put together a short PowerPoint, which our partners have access to in the member’s area, that will help agents explain to a group of employees:

  • why the employer decided to drop their group health plan,
  • why this is actually a good thing for the employees and their families, and
  • how they can bypass the government’s website and use your private exchange site to find a qualified health plan and apply for a government subsidy.

This presentation has actually been tested in front of employees and has received a round of applause, so it does work.

Why is this important?

Brokers sell benefits. That’s their job. The employer buys benefits to make their employees happy. This improves employee satisfaction and helps the employer’s recruitment and retention efforts.

In the past, the benefits of group health insurance were obvious – the employees didn’t need to be sold on it. Now, though, those health insurance benefits could actually hurt some employees and their family members because the group health plan blocks them from the subsidies. That means that, ultimately, a group plan won’t be as effective at attracting and retaining employees – in fact, it could drive them away. That’s the argument for dropping the employer-sponsored health plan.

But this benefit isn’t going to be as obvious to employees. It’s hard to explain to someone that you’re taking something away from them but it’s for their own good. That’s why it’s critical for the broker to communicate this message to the employees – you need to make the employer look like a hero. It can be done, and it’s essential if you want this strategy to work.

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