Wellthie Partners with Alliance Direct Benefits to Increase Access to Ancillary Benefits

Wellthie is thrilled to announce its partnership with Alliance Direct Benefits, a national provider of health, travel, and education benefits to businesses, families, and individuals, to offer Alliance’s most popular benefits through the new Wellthie Small Group Platform.

Brokers can now easily access and enroll small groups in the Alliance Value Plan — which consists of the Alliance’s seven most popular benefits — on Wellthie’s Small Group Benefits Marketplace.

The Alliance Value Plan combines seven top benefits into one affordable package that covers Members and their families from just $10/month. Benefits include:

  • 24/7 Doctor Access – 24/7/365 access to board-certified doctors via smartphone, web or phone,  with no consultation fees or co-pays
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance –  24-hour toll-free access anywhere in the U.S. and Canada
  • Global Emergency Assistance when traveling more than 100 miles from home including medical consultation, emergency medical evacuation and more.
  • Free and discounted legal services from a nationwide network of qualified attorneys
  • ID Theft Resolution Assistance – unlimited access to fraud specialists
  • Alliance Scholarship Program – over $2.6 Million awarded since 1996
  • Career Education Grant Program – assistance for 2-year trade or tech schools

Through Wellthie Small Group, brokers can multiply their market opportunity and drive long-term relationships, while supporting small businesses in increasing employees’ access to medical and ancillary coverage like the Alliance Value Plan.

The benefits offered by the Alliance Value Plan protect employees and their families for just $10 a month per family. The Alliance Value Plan is also used by businesses to provide seasonal and part-time employees with access to benefits, which increases retention and employee satisfaction.

“Alliance Membership is an ideal way for small groups to add high-value benefits for a low per employee per month cost.” said Todd Hyatt, General Counsel, Business Development at the Alliance. “And by partnering with Wellthie, it’s even easier than ever to connect brokers, employers and the Alliance Value Plan.”

To learn more about the Alliance Direct Benefits – Wellthie partnership or to sign up for access to Wellthie, please visit https://www.wellthie.com/alliance-direct/.

Empathy, Education, and Expertise

In the past open enrollments, I’ve written about tips, tricks, hacks, and stats about how people can make the best decisions in choosing their insurance.  This year, I’d like to focus on a personal story.

My phone rang last week, and the woman on the other line – audibly distraught and anxious – asked, “I’m looking for health insurance, can you help me?” I’m a licensed insurance broker, and although I don’t work with individual clients, I stayed on the phone to listen.  

She was a woman in her 40-50’s with numerous health issues. Her carrier decided to discontinue the individual plan she was on. She was worried she could no longer get insurance from the same carrier or any other carrier. She was distraught, confused, and concerned because she had medical issues, and her insurance company didn’t want to cover her anymore.  “I didn’t know where to turn, and I just want to speak to someone who understands.”

“Can they deny me because I had a lot of serious health issues?” No. “Are you sure?” Yes. “Double sure?” Yes! “What should I get?” Let’s talk about your doctors and hospitals – at least a Gold if possible. “Can I just call the plan if I know what I want?” Yes!

By listening, I allayed her fears, gained her trust, and improved her confidence in being able to find insurance that is right for her. I ultimately directed her to a licensed broker who could help complete the process.

This phone call reminded me that health insurance is a very personal matter, it goes to the core of a person’s health care security. She needed empathy in understanding the confusion and struggle of what felt like a rejection from the insurance carrier. She needed the expert guidance to help her understand the regulations are working in her favor and she CAN get coverage despite her mounting medical issues. She appreciated the education on her options and the assistance in making the best decision possible.

In my role now as the Founder and CEO of an innovative technology company in the insurance industry, this call was an important and deep affirmation of our purpose and mission. It is NOT to make the best technology for the insurance industry. It is ultimately to transform the experiences humans have in learning about, choosing, and using their insurance. Regardless of the customer segment – either business owners, HR execs, employees, young individuals, over-65 individuals, families – insurance is providing health and financial security for people. That mission requires us to first focus on the human emotions – the anxieties, fears, aspirations, relief, and joy related to their health and then design solutions with empathy (both digitally and with human expertise) to support people during this open enrollment season and year-round.  It is about empowering people to gain the confidence they need to navigate the system, but offer the support and guidance for those who seek it.  

Confused by Insurance Terminology? Look No Further

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 Partners with The IHC Group

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 Selected as Top Insurtech Innovator in 2017 Plug and Play Program

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.

The State of Small Group Benefits

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.