As the insurance industry continues to prepare for the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on healthcare reform, due out any time, there’s at least one thing everyone agrees on: the rules have changed forever.
Industry groups continue to proactively prepare their membership for the ruling, and employee benefits brokers and employers have kept the dialogue going with customers through a variety of mediums. And everyone agrees that as soon as the decision is handed down, the consumer’s need for information will skyrocket and the industry will need to shift into hyper mode, spending a lot of time talking to people.
But uncertainty still rules the day, since no one knows what the final outcome will be or what the landscape will ultimately look like. Naturally, attitudes and speculations run the gamut from wildly optimistic to throwing in the towel.
Brokers are understandably concerned with the federal government’s increasing role in the healthcare industry and maintaining a viable private marketplace. They want private reform, not just the imposition of a public plan. And they’re not just concerned with the possibility of being put out of work or losing commissions; they’re concerned about the industry losing the vital link in the chain that brokers represent for the customer.
Some lament that as many as 30% of brokers may leave the market altogether, and they say that would be tragic for the industry. Brokers play an important role, leading people through the maze, informing them what products are best for them and their companies, in general bring a great deal of added value to the equation through their knowledge and expertise.
The optimists believe that with change comes opportunity, and that regardless of the Supreme Court’s final ruling, the key to survival is adaptation and innovation. Employers and employee benefit brokers need to be constantly looking for ways to do a better job for their clients, to diversify their offerings, and to continue growing their client base through added value and internal efficiencies.
The landscape will only get more complex from here on out, and the firms that dedicate themselves to being the smartest and delivering the best possible customer experience will survive and thrive.
No matter what the decision on healthcare reform, everyone is looking forward to having the closure so they can plan accordingly. Until then, industry experts advise that the best course of action is to continue educating clients and helping them make the shift to a more consumer-centric, efficient employee benefits marketplace. By doing so, brokers and employers can enhance their value, diversify their revenue, and build stronger relationships with clients, employees and their families during these changing times.
One great tool to assist with the ever-changing healthcare landscape is good, solid information about COBRA and a steady stream of up-to-date COBRA information. COBRAGuard has the COBRA software your clients need to manage their COBRA administration and keep you ahead of the game. Contact COBRAGuard now to learn more about the benefits we offer and register to receive our free monthy e-newsletter, COBRATalk.