The Answer Is...Not the Way We Have Organized and Delivered Employee Benefit Affinity Programs Up to Now
For the better part of four decades associations have been in a health insurance environment that afforded them reasonable income and a solid benefits programs for their members. The lionshare of this income has been fairly stable and as long as your program has grown your income could grow along with it.
For the past decade or more health insurance costs have been rising dramatically and then, after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, member concerns have continued to grow. Associations can lead through this challenging time, but not with most of the tools we have used up to now.
What Associations Have Tried
The environment associations have enjoyed for a long time has been gradually coming to an end, even without the Affordable Care Act. With the Affordable Care Act, associations face the need to substantially change their benefits business model or associations will have an increasingly difficult challenge in offering benefits programs to their members.
We Need A Different Approach To Delivering Employee Benefit Affinity Programs
One fundamental truth about the way we used to organize association benefit programs is that none created a true marketplace. None leveraged the strength of hundreds of members and potentially thousands of employees arriving at a marketplace of multiple benefits, multiple carriers with multiple products competing against each other to drive pricing or benefits.
History and experience tell us that being wedded to a single option, whether fully or self-insured, will eventually not be the hope to solve all problems that we had planned at the outset.
Our gbac Association Practice Group has experience running fully-insured and self-insured programs of all types for trade associations. Arising from that experience comes our enthusiasm for a new, broad-based solution for all association members.
There is another motivation for the need of change. The Affordable Care Act is forcing insurers to substantially reduce commissions through a mechanism called "medical loss ratios," and broker income reductions equal less income for associations as well. Whatever associations have done before in offering employee benefits programs that rely on broker commission income, that model is quickly coming to an end.
A New Affinity Solution for Associations and Their Members
For several years large companies have created their own private employee benefits exchanges, or marketplaces. These employers are also transitioning from "defined benefit" plans where the employer selects a policy that covers all employees - to "defined contribution" plans where employees are provided with an amount of money, then sent to the company benefits exchange, where each employee buys what benefits most suits each employee. This allows these employers more certainty over costs and budgeting and empowers employees to make their own benefit choices, knowing the costs.
gbac has created a solution for smaller employers and groups that can provide these employers with the same tools and market strength as a large employer.
Small employers and groups can more effectively and efficiently manage their benefit costs, as larger employers are. We can provide these employers, through their associations, with the tools that create the very competitive marketplace missing from their grasp for decades. This isn't about group insurance, self-insurance, co-ops or other methods employed in the past that either do not provide a broad-based association solution or that may not survive much longer. This is about creating a truly competitive, robust marketplace where gbac and your association brings insurers together for all benefits and where employers and employees realize the strength of their numbers as they select their benefits from among competing carriers and products.
As change is inevitable, associations need a vehicle to offer health insurance and employee benefits that is as flexible as the changes that drive the benefits industry.
Associations can create web-based, private health insurance and employee benefit marketplaces where the association aggregates dozens of different employee benefits, with the carriers and products behind these benefits. For the first time, an association can create a truly robust, competitive marketplace within which carriers compete for your member's business. Your members are then offered multiple benefit and carrier and product choices for their own companies and employees - all under the guidance of professional benefits advisors.
The New Model for Associations
gbac vetted more than eight different web-based employee benefit platforms from all over the country. gbac's partner allows an association to customize 95% of the web-based platform as its own, brand the platform with the association's logo and determine what benefits, carriers and products to offer to its members. gbac provides the administrative and insurance advisory support for all companies and employees using the platform. If an association has no staff for managing the program gbac can do 100% of the support work, or if an association has insurance staff we can share those responsibilities at the discretion of the association.
Unlike other web-based marketplaces, public or private, the gbac/APG health insurance and employee benefits marketplace is run in conjunction with the association's guidance and branding - and delivered to your members with the guidance of professional benefits advisors. Providing this powerful tool to members of associations provides the association's members with benefit choices and carrier options that cannot be found anywhere else. Unlike the government exchanges where government expects people to make decisions on their own - with the gbac APG health insurance and employee benefits marketplace employers and employees both have constant access to professional, licensed insurance benefit advisors. Planning and executing an employee benefits package is too important to be left to chance.
gbac/APG can show your company or association the way to revolutionize the approach to providing employee benefits and create a competitive marketplace that empowers employers and employees. Together, we can help you drive your benefits costs - rather than those costs driving you.
Watch the Video Introducing The Private Association Marketplace
What's In It For Your Association's Members to Have Their Own gbac Private Association Benefits Marketplace?
The vast majority of most associations are made up of small businesses - with fewer than 50 employees. The vast majority of an association's members that have 50 or fewer employees offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees. With or without the Affordable Care Act, small businesses have serious concerns with employee benefits, as follows...
- Small businesses are facing ever increasing employee benefit costs and need a new approach to providing benefits to their employees. Your gbac/APG association marketplace addresses that problem.
- Managing employee benefits programs have grown increasingly complex and burdensome and small businesses need help. Your gbac/APG association marketplace solves that problem.
- Small businesses are as confused as big businesses when it comes to what parts of the ACA they need to worry about. Your association gbac/APG marketplace solves that problem.
- Small businesses often face less service and fewer benefit choices. Your gbac/APG association marketplace solves that problem.
- Small businesses and their employees will all be touched by several ACA tax provisions and many will need help knowing what to do. Your gbac/APG association marketplace solves that problem.
- Small businesses will need help with challenges from discrimination tests to affordability tests to FTE calculations to understanding the 30-hour rule to the IRS 6055 form and more. Your gbac/APG association marketplace solves that problem.
- Over the past 12 years, 32% of health and welfare plans audited received DOL fines in excess of $10,000 due to ERISA and Form 5500 violations. Your gbac/APG association marketplace provides guidance to help your members.
- As the DOL, IRS and Health & Human Services (HHS) have increased their compliance enforcement for group health & welfare plans, it's important for employers to take control of their plan responsibilities and partner with insurance brokers who proactively identify compliance issues and not just provide passive solutions. Your gbac/APG association marketplace provides the peace of mind and guidance to help your members through these challenges.
- Small businesses would like to offer their employees more choices, help create better consumers of benefits among their employees as today 80% of employees don't understand their own benefits. Your association gbac/APG marketplace changes all of that.
- Small businesses are struggling to decide whether to continue offering employee benefits. They know it's an important retention tool, but need help. Your association marketplace relieves employers of much of their administrative burdens - provides greater certainty in budgeting costs through transitions to defined compensation plans - provides more choices to employees - creates more savvy consumers of benefits among employees. These are key advantages of your gbac/APG association marketplace.
Your association's small businesses are just as concerned about health insurance and employee benefits costs & management as large businesses.
That's what's "in it" for your association's members to have a gbac/APG association health insurance and employee benefits marketplace.
What Is The Difference Between Our Private Association Marketplace and a Government Exchange?
The state or federal public exchanges have a mandate to offer health insurance and pediatric dental coverage. As of this writing, many health insurance carriers have decided to not participate in the public exchanges. The public exchanges will primarily serve the uninsured. Your gbac/APG private association marketplace will offer a full range of employee benefits including health, dental, life, short/long-term disability, vision, income protection, and dozens of others that your association chooses to add. The public exchange is run by a board from government. Your gbac/APG private association marketplace is run by you and your members with gbac's assistance and your local professional benefits advisor.
But Our Association Has a Benefits Program
If your association already has an employee benefits plan, that's great and it can easily integrate into this web-based platform. We work with associations that have programs today and whether your group has no plans or existing plans, we can show you how this powerful web-based platform can vastly improve on your association's benefit offerings to your members.
Does Our Association Need to be Licensed to Have This Private Association Marketplace?
No. Your association will not be in the insurance business, as that is the part of the operation of the marketplace that your local professional benefits advisor or gbac provides and gbac or your local professional benefits advisor is licensed to sell insurance. The association is in the "shopping center" business, literally building this private health insurance and employee benefits marketplace is like building a shopping center for your members. Once the shopping center with your brand attached is constructed, then the association determines how many of the dozens of different benefits to offer its members, and then how many carriers and products sold by those carriers will be offered at each benefit level.
Will Our Members Be Able to Easily Use Our Private Association Marketplace?
Yes! Companies like Sears or Anheuser Busch have employees using these types of platforms today. People today are used to using iTunes for the smartphones, Ebay or Amazon or other web-based retailers for their personal purchases and using your new health insurance and employee benefits marketplace is no more complicated than any web-based retail option. Plus, gbac insurance professional, or your local professional benefits advisors are available to help all employers and employees with their benefit decisions - in addition to the eBenefits Marketplace program providing tremendous benefit comparison provisions. Your members will have more options and be better able to compare those options than found anywhere else.
gbac also provides the participating association with webinars, seminars and articles for newsletters and other member communications to keep the association and its members up-to-date with milestones in the Affordable Care Act and other important information in the employee benefits arena. Don't be daunted by 25,000+ pages of Affordable Care Act regulations - partnering with gbac means we help your association and its members make maximum use of this powerful marketplace tool and avoid the minefields in the Affordable Care Act.
What We Carefully Reviewed For Over a Year Before Arriving at the eBenefit Marketplace Solution
- We Vetted All of the Electronic Markets
We spent 2011-2012 vetting all of the marketplaces with which we could have done business. After a lengthy and involved technical and marketing analysis and interviewing all of the other available web-based exchange/marketplace we chose a a great partner for our associations. What is special?
eBenefit Marketplace provides a platform that is 95% configurable by the association and its members. This simply means that from branding to content, the association drives the decisions and how their marketplace looks and what it contains. No other alternative marketplace provided each association with this degree of flexibility.
eBenefit Marketplace is the most cost-effective platform. All other marketplaces were available at a higher cost per person to members. As gbac has the most economical platform that means gbac is able to offer associations and their members the best cost per person with minimal startup costs. Most other platforms require significant startup costs in addition to member and employee fees.
The eBenefit Marketplace platform allows gbac to serve the small group market that dominates association memberships. While other platforms exist, they focus on the large group market. Everyone wants to sell to a big company. Few take the time to offer competitive choices to the small businesses that make up 95% of association memberships.
gbac's platform has 13 years of proven experience in the benefits administration, having been chosen to run the Utah, New York Healthpass, MaineHealth (largest health system in Northern New England) and Connecticut public exchanges, as well as serving companies as large as Anheuser Busch that has 30,000 employees enrolled, Amsted Industries with 11,000 employees, DentSupply Internations with 8,500 employees, Children's Memorial Hospital 5,000 employees. We didn't choose the first product solution off the line that had been untested and unproven - we selected the marketplace that had proven its success.
Association Non-Dues Income
The associations that use this eBenefit Marketplace technology earn non-dues income from the operation of their marketplace. Your association will provide a safe, reliable and comfortable environment for your members and their employees to make their benefit, carrier and product choices. This gbac/APG association-branded web-based, private health insurance and employee benefit marketplace will be the centerpiece of your association's affinity program offerings to members. As your members will not find anything like this marketplace anywhere else, your association provides a unique service that further binds your members to your group.
We're Broker Friendly
This gbac/APG association-based private health insurance and employee benefits marketplace was designed with associations in mind - to serve association members.
Key to our success is the participation of your member's brokers and your association's members. gbac/APG will work with all brokers who want to work with you and us to make this a success for your members. Your local brokers will need to know [a] the Affordable Care Act, and [b] How to transition your member employers from defined benefit plans to defined contribution programs, and [c] Become fully oriented and support the use of the association marketplace with your members. gbac APG has a mandatory broker training program available at www.gbacapgforbrokers.com. Brokers register, pay a fee, take their training and after they pass successfully, sign a broker participation agreement with the ebenefits marketplace - our marketplace vendor.
Your association member's brokers have nothing to lose and everything to gain by working together with us!
Our Association Would Like to See this
The gbac Association Practice Group will be happy to provide a comprehensive overview of this program and live demonstration of the unique eBenefit Marketplace web-based platform for your group. Once your group sees this program in action, you'll find that regardless of whatever changes occur in the insurance markets or come from government, your association will have the maximum flexibility to use your private health insurance and employee benefits marketplace to accommodate any change from anywhere, anytime. Just use the Contact Us information on this page and let us know that you'd like to schedule a demonstration.