Expanding Benefits Sales With Non-Insurance Alternatives For The Remote Workforce

How Brokers Can Expand Business With Flexible Healthcare Solutions For The Remote Work Revolution

The world’s reliance on remote work has been permanently altered thanks to the social distancing measures put in place during the pandemic. This reliance on technology has been implemented across industries and has affected employer groups large and small. As employers continue to adapt to this new normal, it’s unlikely things will ever return to the way they were pre-pandemic.

Instead, we expect even more client groups to join the remote work revolution in the years ahead. These tough economic times have been challenging for everyone but especially for small groups. And as companies pivoted to remote or hybrid workforces during the past year, many learned that having a remote workforce across multiple states provides a unique set of challenges for some employers.

In an effort to fight rising healthcare costs, large and small groups are shopping around for a new healthcare alternative that might equate to lower premiums and fewer claims to impact their profits. By providing timely solutions, brokers can reinforce their value and position themselves for growth in the years ahead.

Traditional Insurance Options Are Incongruent
Traditional health insurance has been a staple of health plans for many years because that’s all people knew. But now that technology has enabled companies to be geographically dispersed, having a healthcare plan with state limitations provides a new set of restrictions.

As the migration outside of offices and city centers continues, companies find it is often more cost-effective to hire 1099 employees rather than W-4 employees. These employees are generally forced to find their own health coverage, and costs can escalate quickly. To stay competitive, many employers want to provide the same quality of health plan options to all employees, no matter how far-flung they may be.

There is also a rising population of digital nomads who roam the country at their discretion. They are just as dedicated to their work but choose to do it in a non-traditional setting. The need to receive first-rate healthcare when traveling from state to state is a growing need in the current landscape and will continue to grow as more workers become untethered from corporate headquarters. Traditional insurance options don’t provide the flexibility required for this growing segment of society.

Customize Benefits for the Remote Workforce
Employee benefits are a vital component of attracting and retaining employees. If a benefits plan is limited or restricted by location, it can not only make recruiting top-notch talent more difficult, but it can also impact profits significantly. For example, suppose a company offers a PPO plan. In that case, an employee working in a remote location may have a very limited network or even out-of-network only coverage, which exposes both the employer and employee to severely increased claims costs.

As employers discover the increased productivity and happier employees who accompany working remotely, they embrace this change and take steps to implement it long term. This change has caused clients of all sizes to seek solutions outside of the traditional realm of health plan options. They’re looking to brokers for customizable benefits that mitigate the costs of claims and provide the flexibility needed for a conventional workforce as well as a remote workforce.

Take a Fresh Look at Old Problems
Evolution presents fresh challenges and opportunities, regardless of company size. If a broker never revisits strategies or offers new solutions to improve a client’s health plan, he leaves the door open for more savvy competitors to take his clients. To differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you must think differently than everyone else and stay ahead of the curve.

Companies are so desperate for cost-saving solutions that they take matters into their own hands and do their research to find new options for better results. Brokers who are not aware of the changing landscape of healthcare solutions will likely lose clients in the days ahead.

A Contemporary Solution
One solution that employers are flocking to for the remote workforce is direct primary care (DPC). DPC is different from traditional insurance because there are no premiums or deductibles to pay. It’s a monthly healthcare membership that allows employees to get unlimited primary care for a low monthly fee. With a nationwide direct primary care provider, employees in every state can get the same level of care for the same monthly payment. There is consistency in quality and pricing across the board for all employees, no matter where they work.

Because DPC isn’t insurance, there are no insurance claims to impact the employer when an employee sees a primary care physician. This membership has been a game-changer for employees with chronic illnesses. Managing a chronic disease with traditional health insurance generates claims that continue to impact an employer for the life of that employee.

DPC memberships offer chronic disease management for a number of common conditions—all without generating claims. Even employers who offer the traditional BUCAs have found that adding DPC to their plans diverts claims for acute and chronic conditions, leading to significant savings.

Layered Solutions are Key
When employees understand the importance of primary care to prevent higher health spends downstream, options like DPC can help employers and their staff protect themselves from the impact of insurance claims. Employers also view direct primary care as a valuable solution because they can easily pair it with other benefits to provide even more meaningful coverage with minimal increases to the cost of the health plan. One of these benefits is a limited benefit indemnity plan.

Having unlimited access to a primary care physician for day-to-day care is extremely beneficial for long term health outcomes. But traditional and mobile employees also want coverage for accidents, hospitalization, intensive care, and other unexpected health crises without breaking the bank. By combining a DPC membership with an indemnity plan, brokers can provide these benefits at a very affordable rate.

Telemedicine is Here to Stay
Because of millennials and their affinity for technology, telemedicine and virtual doctor’s visits were gaining popularity before the pandemic. It’s no surprise this modern convenience continues to grow in popularity as former skeptics have discovered how easy and inexpensive it is.

Employers no longer see telemedicine as optional, but many don’t know they can provide this benefit without generating insurance claims. This is where offering a non-traditional, no-claims option like direct primary care can set you apart from competitors.
By educating employer groups on the benefits of a DPC membership with telemedicine and virtual visits, a knowledgeable broker can build a health plan that appeals to workers across multiple generations. Employers aim to attract and retain innovative talent, and benefits that are both robust and cost-effective are an integral part of recruitment strategy.

Easing the Pain
Establish yourself as the one employers call for resolution when their old health plans no longer fit. Disruptors add value to their clientele by proactively pitching solutions that are outside the status quo. Businesses change year over year, so yesterday’s solutions may no longer apply. By reviewing health plans annually and addressing new or old issues, you remind clients of your value as a broker.

Rising healthcare costs are impacting businesses and employees alike. Direct primary care is a powerful alternative to incorporate into health plans because it addresses many of the pain points facing companies and employees today:

  • Employees who struggle to meet high deductibles for primary care
  • Workers who can’t afford to insure dependents
  • 1099, part-time, and seasonal workers who don’t usually receive benefits
  • Remote workers who require access to healthcare in different states
  • Constant claims for chronic disease management and primary care eating profits

The ground is shifting beneath our feet, and knowledgeable brokers have a prime opportunity and responsibility to learn about new products for the remote workforce. How are your health plans different or better than those of your competitors? Opportunities to build better health plans abound, and a well-rounded broker must offer clients a full range of traditional and non-traditional benefits.

Employers want to provide quality care for employees while spending less. They also desire personalized benefits packages that meet the individual needs of a diverse workforce. Speaking directly to a client’s needs without them having to ask is a great way to build relationships and expand sales.

Andy Bonner, president and CEO of Healthcare2U, is dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of affordable healthcare and wellness initiatives by developing innovative services and cost structures that are challenging the traditional models of how programs are purchased and consumed. An integrated, hybrid direct primary care organization, since 2017 Healthcare2U has worked with Pan-American Life Insurance Group to tailor nationwide benefits for small and medium-sized businesses that promote employee engagement and reduces turnover.

Bonner’s passion for solving the healthcare challenges facing Americans today stems from a successful battle with cancer in 2006 which set him on a path to analyze how primary care and wellness is delivered along with the costs that prevent people from getting the annual checkups and care they need. This journey led to the creation in 2013 of Healthcare2U, which provides affordable membership-based primary medical care, wellness, and chronic disease management, and the creation of Healthcare2U Wellness in 2015.

Bonner has more than two decades of leadership experience that spans business consulting, business process outsourcing, printing, business services, and capital equipment industries. He is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio.
Bonner can be reached at Healthcare2U, LLC, 6101 W Courtyard Drive, Building 5, Suite 210, Austin, TX 78730. Telephone: 512-900-8900. Email: contact@healthc2u.com.