We’re in the midst of Open Enrollment, the period during which individuals and families can enroll, re-enroll, or change their health insurance plan for 2018. This year, Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
Many Americans have already enrolled in 2018 coverage. However, for those who haven’t, there may be confusion. Should you select a high-deductible play or low-deductible plan? What’s the difference between a PPO, HMO, and EPO? To help guide you in your search, we’ve pulled together a list of the most useful terms to know when selecting a health insurance below.
Premium: The monthly cost of your health insurance plan. If you get an employer-sponsored insurance plan, the premium might come out of your paycheck.
Copay: This is the flat rate you’re charged for doctor visits and prescriptions. The rates vary according to the service, so having a general idea about what kinds of healthcare visits you will make might help assess these rates.
Deductible: The amount you have to pay for health services before your insurance plan starts to pay. Deductibles do not apply to monthly premiums or free preventative services such as checkups. If you are a relatively young and healthy person, you may prefer a plan that has lower premiums and higher deductibles, which means you will be paying less at a monthly basis but if you do require a health service you may have to cover a big amount of it.
Coinsurance: This is the percentage of costs you have to pay after you’ve met your deductible.
Out-of-pocket maximum: This is the most you would have to pay for health insurance in a given year for the services your plan covers. So once you hit that out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance company covers everything.
Cost-sharing: The share of costs covered by your insurance that you pay out of your own pocket. This term generally includes deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, or similar charges, but it doesn’t include premiums, cost of non-network providers, or non-covered services.
Preferred Provider Organization(PPO): A type of health insurance plan that has a broad list of participating providers and hospitals for which you pay less. In a PPO, you can also use out-of-network doctors at a higher cost.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A type of health insurance plan that limits coverage to in-network doctors and the hospitals that work with those doctors. HMO’s typically won’t cover out-of-network care unless it’s an emergency and requires a referral from the primary care physician to see a specialist.
Exclusive Provider Organizations(EPO): A type of health insurance plan that allows individuals to use the doctors and hospitals within the EPO network, but won’t cover care that goes outside of the network. In EPOs, there are no out-of-network benefits or requirements to get a referral to see a specialist.
For additional health insurance terms you may not be familiar with, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/.
Wellthie is thrilled to announce we have partnered with Independence Holding Company (NYSE: IHC), one of the nation’s leading providers of ancillary benefits for employer groups and individuals. The partnership will allow producers who utilize Wellthie’s first-of-its-kind platform – Wellthie Small Group – to easily quote IHC’s group dental and medical products for their small group clients.
Wellthie’s comprehensive marketplace allows producers to shop multiple carriers for their small employer group clients who are looking for employer-based health insurance. Through the Wellthie-IHC partnership, producers can shop from among top medical carriers as well as a selection of IHC’s offerings. Wellthie’s platform enables producers to quote a combination of products with a single census and single proposal, with the ability to instantly model out various contribution strategies and easily enroll in IHC plans.
“The Wellthie business model is going to help busy producers in Ohio maximize their efficiency during open enrollment this year,” said Dave Keller, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of IHC Specialty Benefits, “and we are excited to have IHC ancillary products as part of that equation.”
“We are thrilled to be entering into such an innovative distribution partnership with IHC. Together, we will provide producers with a modern and flexible technology that transforms the way they sell and offer more value to their small business customers – a win-win for both IHC, their producers and the small business owners,” said Sally Poblete, Founder and CEO of Wellthie.
Wellthie is pleased to announce that we have been selected by Plug and Play Tech Center to join their Insurtech Innovation Program. Wellthie is one of 35 companies chosen out of thousands to participate in Plug and Play’s program for start-ups innovating in the insurance industry.
Wellthie was selected by some of the industry’s leading carriers who seek to partner with startups and entrepreneurs that provide breakthrough technology and innovations for the insurance industry. Additional benefits of the program are licensing, investment, and mentorship opportunities.
“We are honored to have been chosen among the top insurtech companies to participate in the Plug and Play Insurance program,” said Sally Poblete, CEO of Wellthie. “Plug and Play provides a unique opportunity for selected start-ups to companies to partner with the largest carriers and industry players to accelerate the transformation of their industries.”
Earlier this year, Poblete was recognized in Forbes Magazine for her deep industry expertise the passion she brings to transforming the gigantic and complex insurance industry. Wellthie has also been featured in such publications as The Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and BuzzFeed.
As enrollment season nears the corner, brokers often wonder – what is this year’s market outlook for small group insurance? In September, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published a report focusing on the employer-sponsored insurance segment. Below are the facts you need to know about the small business market, as well as tips on how you can leverage this information to increase your competitiveness and sales as a small group broker.
The small business outlook is bright
Small business owners are optimistic about their financial positions and the economy as a whole. 81% of small business owners are comfortable with their current cash flow, while 41% of small businesses are more optimistic about the national economy now compared to last quarter.
The optimism within the small business segment is a significant opportunity. Small businesses that previously have not offered insurance to employees may be more willing to do so now and will require a broker to guide their decision. Of the nearly 6 million small businesses purchasing insurance for their employees, 80% choose to rely on the expertise of a broker. Why? Because insurance is inherently complex and costly, requiring the empathy, education, and expertise of a broker.
Premium growth remains stable
In 2017, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are $6,690 for single coverage and $18,764 for family coverage. Compared to last year, the average single premium increased 4%, and the average family premium increased 3% – a relatively stable amount given that workers’ wages increased 2.3% and inflation increased 2.2% over the last year.
Stable premium growth is a great sign for brokers whose customers fear an increase in the cost of employee coverage. The stability in the employer market is an opportunity for brokers to start conversations with business owners on offering health benefits to their employees. It is up to brokers to educate small business owners on the value of coverage and to assist employers in finding the best value option, a massive opportunity to grow your book of business.
Ancillary sales are a big sales opportunity
Among large firms, 97% offer dental benefits and 82% offer vision benefits. For small business, this number is dramatically lower, with 67% offering dental benefits and 47% offering vision benefits. While overall coverage rates for small businesses is at 62%, ancillary benefits are still a large need – and opportunity – for brokers and small businesses alike.
Ancillary (or supplemental) insurance offers an opportunity for brokers to fill coverage gaps left by health plans. Moreover, ancillary benefits like dental, vision, disability, accident, and life usually have lower premiums and are a great way for small businesses to make their employees happy. Selling ancillary benefits also provides brokers an opportunity to upsell to those that do offer medical coverage.
We are thrilled to announce that we have launched Wellthie Small Group, the first-of-its-kind platform to bring a comprehensive Small Group benefits marketplace together with dynamic sales optimization tools to empower top-performing brokers and agents nationwide. Responding to national demand, we have expanded our shopping, quoting, and enrollment platform to new markets and additional lines of coverage, including medical and top ancillary products like dental, vision, and value-added products.
At Wellthie, we are addressing the needs of the nearly 6 million small businesses purchasing insurance for their employees, 80% of which rely on the expertise of a broker. Today, benefits brokers are burdened by disconnected systems, outdated tools, manual and paper-based processes, and complex regulations that reduce the amount of time brokers can spend generating new sales and focusing on client strategy.
With Wellthie’s platform, brokers can multiply their market opportunity and drive long-term relationships, while increasing employees’ access to insurance. Wellthie Small Group enables forward-thinking brokers and agents to transform the sales and service process for small business employers and their employees. With expanded features – including a dynamic live quoting system – the platform delivers the power and flexibility to offer more coverage, while simplifying the broker’s workflow so brokers generate more sales, streamline insurance decisions for clients, and tout their benefits expertise.
In addition to live quoting from top medical and ancillary carriers, Wellthie Small Group – expanding to new markets nationally for medical and introducing new ancillary lines – includes real-time contribution modeling, custom proposal generation, integrated broker CRM, enrollment support, and analytics.
Our focus on innovative distribution has attracted the nation’s top medical and ancillary carriers. With the ability to support medical and ancillary plans in a single marketplace, while also being broker-friendly, carriers are partnering with Wellthie to grow small group membership across multiple product lines and channels.
“The needs and expectations of small businesses when shopping for insurance and selecting benefits increasingly focus not just on value, but also ease and convenience,” said Sally Poblete, CEO, Wellthie. “As the only platform with comprehensive medical and ancillary shopping combined with the simplicity and versatility of powerful sales tools, we maximize sales for forward-thinking brokers and leading carriers in the small business market.
You can also view Wellthie’s press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/09/prweb14707220.htm
We are thrilled to announce we have hired D. Orlando Keise to serve as Wellthie’s Chief Technology Officer. Effective immediately, Keise will lead Wellthie’s technology and product teams, building upon the innovation we bring to the medical and ancillary insurance distribution market.
Keise joins Wellthie with 15+ years leading technology teams in the highly competitive fintech industry, bringing the lessons he learned in fintech to the insurtech space. Most recently, Keise was responsible for marketing technology at LearnVest and Northwestern Mutual. Keise brings to Wellthie a deep background in building products with creative technology solutions, from new marketing experimentation platforms to trading systems with billions of dollars in transaction volume and vast amounts of data. Keise also has prior experience aligning product design, end user experience, data analytics, and engineering.
“During our stage of rapid growth, we are excited to have such a seasoned technology leader as D. Orlando as our new CTO,” said Sally Poblete, Founder and CEO, Wellthie. “We are laser focused on bringing transformative technology solutions that simplify the outdated and cumbersome processes in insurance distribution while offering scalable and high performing solutions to our customers and partners. D. Orlando has the unique combination of experience driving innovation and deep expertise building and integrating complex systems.”
“Wellthie has been recognized in the industry for developing technology-forward solutions in a gigantic industry ripe for change,” said Keise. “So much exciting work lies ahead in Wellthie’s mission to simplify insurance distribution given the vast opportunity. I’m thrilled to join an exceptional team with deep insurance expertise and focus on expanding the leading product Wellthie offers to brokers and insurance carriers.”
The addition of Keise’s expertise and leadership comes at a pivotal time for Wellthie, as we prepare to release our most comprehensive product yet: Wellthie Small Group. The first-of-its-kind marketplace and sales optimization platform will transform the way brokers quote, guide, and enroll small business customers in the insurance that best serves their needs and budget. Leveraging advanced algorithms and an intuitive user experience, Wellthie Small Group offers expanded product offerings from leading insurance carriers, and shortens the sales cycle so forward-thinking brokers and carriers can maximize their sales opportunity across multiple insurance lines.
Stayed tuned in the coming weeks for a meet-and-greet with D. Orlando!