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November 2008 return to the table of contents

Healthcare Insurance Options Growing, Placing More Demands On Providers, Agents To Offer Solutions, Education, Financial Advice

As options for consumer directed healthcare grow, companies and individuals are increasingly turning to agent/brokers for advice and suggestions.

At the same time, more agent/brokers are recommending these healthcare benefit options to their clients.However, many agent/brokers are not providing the support needed to make them truly effective for companies, employees and individuals.Over the past four years, Information Strategies, Inc., (ISI) has been surveying agent/brokers on the mix of product offerings.

Three trends emerge this year:CDH products are increasingly becoming the norm in terms of initial and final options offered. Client educational needs are growing and with them an expanding role for the agent/broker in the adoption process.

The internet is playing an increasing role in the choice of agent/broker and how they service their clients,

ISI, this newsletter’s parent, polled more than 500 agents in the summer and fall on their changing role in the healthcare insurance purchasing process,

23% said they found it harder to provide all of the information clients requested55% said they had offered a CDH option in their first proposals to clients.71% said client demands in terms of education and advising employees were up from 2007.

Demand for the three major CDH offerings, Health Reimbursement Accounts, (HRAs), Financial Savings Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) going into the October-December enrollment period.

However, as TJ Ryan, president of ISU Group reports based on input from more than 300 brokers, "There is little to no advice given by the brokers to the employer nor the employees about the Health Savings Account attributes."

"We believe that the agent/brokers who provide answers and support for these needs will be long-term winners because giving the customer what he or she wants is the best way of growing," he added.

One new trend that is surfacing revolves around what are the purchasing decision criteria for a healthcare insurance plan.

Because many individuals and employees view CDH plans as more of a financial decision rather than an insurance benefit, there is a new breed of agent/brokers who look at the total financial picture of their clients.

As a result, there is a convergence between financial institutions, healthcare and insurance industries and wellness providers creating a $40B industry.

One company formed to be a significant player in this arena is ISU Financial Services.

It’s president, Kaye Chavalas, is driving her company to provide Health Savings Account insurance as well as sophisticated financial planning to healthcare management including an integrated Health Savings Account and Health Investment Account.

"ISU uniquely addresses the needs of the convergence of the insurance and financial services industries for all your Insurance, Consumer Driven Healthcare and Wellness needs," Kavalas said.

Her company, like many others in the field, strives to provide:

  • Access to Healthcare Plan and NetworkTools and Information for the Employer and Employee to drive adoption rates HSA
  • Administration that is integrated to Health Investment Account that holds funds and manages investments
  • Integration with Health Plansan
  • A HSA Debit Card
  • Processes HSA Transactions
  • Supports all Reimbursement Types
  • Provides a consolidated statement at the end of the year for HSA Management and Receipt

For more information, go to

As options for consumer directed healthcare grow, companies and individuals are increasingly turning to agent/brokers for advice and suggestions.

At the same time, more agent/brokers are recommending these healthcare benefit options to their clients.

However, many agent/brokers are not providing the support needed to make them truly effective for companies, employees and individuals.

Over the past four years, Information Strategies, Inc., (ISI) has been surveying agent/brokers on the mix of product offerings.

Three trends emerge this year:

· The internet is playing an increasing role in the choice of agent/broker and how they service their clients.

ISI, this newsletter’s parent, polled more than 500 agents in the summer and fall on their changing role in the healthcare insurance purchasing process,

· 23% said they found it harder to provide all of the information clients requested.

· 55% said they had offered a CDH option in their first proposals to clients.

· 71% said client demands in terms of education and advising employees were up from 2007.

· 62% said their total commissions from healthcare insurance premiums were down from 2007.

Demand for the three major CDH offerings, Health Reimbursement Accounts, (HRAs), Financial Savings Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) going into the October-December enrollment period.

However, as TJ Ryan, president of ISU Group reports based on input from more than 300 brokers:

· Employer demand for low premium health plans and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) is exceptionally strong.

· Health insurance brokers are reluctant to promote the low premium high deductible health plans (HDHP)

· There is little to no advice given by the brokers to the employer nor the employees about the Health Savings Account attributes   

"We believe that the agent/brokers who provide answers and support for these needs will be long-term winners because giving the customer what he or she wants is the best way of growing," he added.

One new trend that is surfacing revolves around what are the purchasing decision criteria for a healthcare insurance plan.

Because many individuals and employees view CDH plans as more of a financial decision rather than an insurance benefit, there is a new breed of agent/brokers who look at the total financial picture of their clients.

As a result, there is a convergence between financial institutions, healthcare and insurance industries and wellness providers creating a $40B industry.

One company formed to be a significant player in this arena is ISU Financial Services.

It’s president, Kaye Chavalas, is driving her company to provide Health Savings Account insurance as well as sophisticated financial planning to healthcare management including an integrated Health Savings Account and Health Investment Account.

"ISU uniquely addresses the needs of the convergence of the insurance and financial services industries for all your Insurance, Consumer Driven Healthcare and Wellness needs," Kavalas said.

Her company, like many others in the field, strives to provide:

  • Access to Healthcare Plan and NetworkTools and Information for the Employer and Employee to drive adoption rates
  • HSA Administration that is integrated to Health Investment Account that holds funds and manages investments
  • Integration with Health PlansA HSA Debit CardProcesses
  • HSA TransactionsSupports all Reimbursement Types
  • Provides a consolidated statement at the end of the year for HSA Management and Receipts
  • A knowledgeable HSA Customer Service Center that provides consistent and accurate answers.

For more information go to http://www.isugroup.com/

 

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