As a private exchange partner to our clients who are sometimes brokers, I thought I would comment on what we are seeing after reading this BenefitsPro article.
About 67% of brokers think their commissions will be flat or fall this year; smaller brokers are struggling more than larger brokers. Is that because their employer base is shrinking, they are selling less product or they are spending relatively more time on service? Or, is something else going on?
If 42% of brokers say that more than a quarter of their accounts are using an online tool for enrollment, that means 58% of brokers have fewer than a quarter of their accounts using an online tool. (Businesses are still using paper application forms to manage their benefits.) In other words, there is a significant amount of administration time being expended by those brokers, their clients and the associated employees. It also means that the brokers are likely spending relatively more time answering questions than their counterparts that have exchanges with tools, avatars, calculators and other things that let employees self-serve.
So what’s the biggest takeaway from all of this? Small and medium-sized brokers can compete by offering exchange solutions that provide heavy admin support, decision-support tools and resources, and offer compelling benefits strategies by driving ancillary products. We’re fortunate enough at ConnectedHealth to work with a variety of brokers throughout the U.S. to support their clients’ diverse needs, particularly as the healthcare landscape continues to shift and the ACA unfolds.