Zane Benefits, the leader in defined contribution health benefits, today announced a new Broker Partner program available to Alaska health insurance brokers to help transition small business clients to defined contribution solutions. The program provides brokers with free ongoing training, sales and implementation support along with customized sales and marketing materials.
“Alaska brokers need a solution for employers canceling group health insurance plans in 2012,” said Rick Lindquist, President of Zane Benefits. “The primary goal of this program will be to educate brokers on defined contribution and private health exchanges and equip them with the knowledge and materials they need to fully address the concerns of their clients.”
New studies predict that U.S. businesses are gearing up to abandon traditional health coverage in favor of the defined contribution model. As a result, health insurers are already dusting off their once-ignored individual market product lines to appeal to individuals as well as employees. And, businesses of all sizes are looking to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to control benefit costs while keeping employee morale and retention up.
Experts predict group health insurance costs to hit an all-time high this renewal period due to key health care reform provisions taking effect. Lindquist predicts that thousands of Alaska small businesses will terminate their group health insurance plans. “As health care reform phases in, nearly every small business will drop its group plan and allow employees to use tax-free funds to buy their own individual health policies.”
Zane Benefits’ solution, often referred to as a defined contribution health plan, allows an employer to name its price. Rather than paying the high costs to provide a specific group health plan (a "defined benefit"), employers instead fix their costs by establishing a monthly dollar amount (a “defined contribution”) that employees can use toward any individual policies, which cost less than the monthly amount funded by the company.
Individual health insurance used to be expensive and hard to get. However, due to health insurance reforms, individual policies are now more affordable and accessible. For example, insurance companies must now accept children regardless of preexisting conditions, and guaranteed acceptance is being extended to all citizens in 2014.
As of 2014, massive tax subsidies will be available to help individuals buy individual health insurance coverage through the new state-based public exchanges. Tax subsidies will be available, beginning in 2014, for individuals who enroll in silver plans through an exchange. This subsidy caps the cost of an individual’s health insurance at 2% - 9.5% of their household income if their household income is less than 400% above the federal poverty line (that’s ~$90,000 per year for a family of 4 in 2012).
Lindquist goes on to say, “Our partner program will allow Alaska brokers to retain their existing small business health insurance business on an individual basis. Our products are distributed in all 50 states by independent health insurance brokers. However, many brokers do not realize individual health insurance can be reimbursed tax free. We are working hard to educate brokers on these new products so that they can help their clients.”
To get started, insurance brokers should request a partnership evaluation and create a partner account. The online account gives agents immediate access to on-demand training, custom marketing brochures and Zane Benefits’ defined contribution healthcare experts.
Once the broker creates the online account, a New Business Manager at Zane Benefits will work with the broker to transition interested clients to the joint defined contribution solution. Zane Benefits does not sell health insurance or interfere with its partners’ existing insurance services.
The program is available now at www.ZaneAffiliates.com and from authorized insurance agencies in Alaska.
Zane Benefits, Inc, a software company, helps insurance brokers, accountants, and employers take advantage of new defined contribution health benefits and private exchanges via its proprietary SaaS online health benefits software. Zane Benefits does not sell insurance. Using Zane’s platform, insurance professionals and accountants offer their clients a defined contribution health plan with multiple individual health insurance options via a private health exchange of their choice. Learn more at www.zanebenefits.com.