The last several years have been a wild ride for healthcare reform. From changing policies, to emerging markets, and the recent pandemic, finding affordable healthcare coverage has become a challenge for many business owners and their employees. Healthcare reform held the promise of reduced costs and expanded access. However, the result was the opposite: costs went up exponentially and plan design options became more limited. Although insurance companies could no longer set their premiums based on employee responses to medical questions, the average premium cost increased significantly and many employers are now struggling to provide affordable healthcare to their employees. The current administration’s answer to this dilemma was to introduce new competition into the health insurance space by allowing, in limited circumstances, the development of Association Health Plans (AHPs), which allows small employers can use their combined membership to negotiate better terms with insurance carriers, including better network options and lower costs.
The IRTBA began exploring this option for our membership last year and we have decided to move forward. This new plan will be created as a fully-insured plan in Illinois. It can be sold and serviced by any licensed insurance broker, so your current broker will have the ability to obtain a quote (once the program goes live) to compare against your current program. Smaller and mid-sized firms can potentially realize significant health insurance savings by joining in this plan. Should an IRTBA member firm decide to join the program, your chosen broker will be able to receive commissions for servicing your account. IRTBA conducted a member survey at the end of June to gauge interest. Based on the great deal of interest expressed in the survey, the Association is entering the underwriting phase of development. IRTBA will approach all carriers that offer fully-insured plans across the state to develop proposals for our program and then choose the best carrier to offer the IRTBA-sponsored Association Health Plan. The Association will primarily be focusing on the accessibility of the network, claims adjudication quality, and financial savings for our members. Now, in the underwriting phase, the IRTBA needs to provide insurance carriers with detailed information on the potential participating members so they can develop competitive pricing. The good news is that this information is readily available; members should ask their HR departments to provide it and send it in as soon as possible to IRTBA-EB@Assuranceagency.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for a list of FAQs and answers to help your firm become better informed about IRTBA's Association Health Plan.