News & Updates
May 19: Orange, CA – The architect of America’s most successful health insurance exchange has recently advised brokers to “sharpen their skills” and “begin now in educating their clients about the many benefits that health insurance exchanges can bring.” A central part of healthcare reform, every state is mandated to establish and launch a health insurance exchange by January 1, 2014.
“Healthcare reform is upon us, and health insurance exchanges are a key part of it,” said Ron Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of CHOICE Administrators. “In this new world, brokers will be more important than ever in helping to successfully tackle the country’s massive uninsured and underinsured challenges.”
Goldstein said that while exchanges will be selling both directly and through a network of “navigators,” it will be “educated, trusted brokers who will provide employers and individuals with the most balanced information and unbiased recommendations needed to make well-informed decisions. And brokers will be needed more than ever to help service routine questions and serious policy issues as purchasers work to become educated on what exchanges are all about.”
In underscoring the important role brokers will play, Goldstein pointed out that a state-run exchange will be a meaningful force in the marketplace by attracting a balanced enrollment and appealing every bit as much to individuals and small groups who do not qualify for subsidies or tax credits as those who do. He also suggests that successful exchanges will meet current marketplace standards of customer service and utilize existing professional insurance broker distribution channels to their fullest.
“Brokers already have established relationships in the market and know how to attract this kind of business,” Goldstein said. “By leveraging existing sales and enrollment channels, public and private exchanges can achieve the goals set out in healthcare reform.”
Goldstein made his remarks before a recent gathering of the Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters. He told the audience that successful brokers will be those who become “true experts” in how exchanges work and how they can bring added value to the marketplace. “In every renewal or new business presentation, brokers should start talking about exchanges,” said Goldstein. “That includes what they are, what they mean, and how they are currently providing value to employers and members.”
In California, Goldstein helped create CaliforniaChoice, which works with more than 10,000 brokers to serve more than 10,000 employers and 150,000 members.
Last year CaliforniaChoice became the first private health insurance exchange in the nation to surpass a 20 million member months plateau. Through the years, CaliforniaChoice has provided thousands of hours of training to the broker community through a series of seminars and workshops, printed materials, continuing education courses and ongoing online support. This will be an important part of exchange success in every state.
“A strong broker distribution system is key to our enduring success, and we are committed to keeping brokers apprised of new developments and of what they can do to continue to play a central role in the success of exchanges,” said Goldstein. “There are great opportunities out there for brokers, and those who take the necessary steps to become informed and engaged will position both themselves and their clients as winners today and in the future.”