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Brokers & Clients

“My clients are looking for lower premiums from Utah’s Health Exchange…”

Randal Topper is a broker who sells health insurance. He was initially interested in becoming certified to sell health insurance through the Utah Health Exchange (UHE), thinking this would increase the services he could offer to his clients, but after taking the UHE’s broker training he’s having second thoughts. 

Randal’s  biggest concern with selling in the Utah Health Exchange is cost:  “The Utah Health Exchange has to add value to what I can offer my clients, and that means lower costs and increased choice compared to the regular insurance market.  Lower cost is the most important thing and the Exchange doesn’t yet deliver the level of savings my clients are looking for.”

The other problem with selling on the Exchange, says Randal, is that employees have just 12 days to choose from the over 140 plans on the exchange.  “How is one broker supposed to sit with all the employees in the group (could be up to 49!) and help them navigate through that many options?” asks Randal.  “It doesn’t make sense from a broker perspective.  I mean, should I spend two weeks working with all the employees in just one business so they can buy health insurance in the Utah Exchange when I could use that time to work with the employers of multiple businesses, helping them choose the right plan for their employees?”

Randal’s mind is not made up in regards to whether the UHE is beneficial to employers and if he should be using it as a tool to sell insurance plans.  If he doesn’t become certified he won’t be competitive with the brokers that are, but if he does, will he be able to offer the best value for his clients?

To best serve small businesses, Utah policymakers should focus on 2 things:

1. Tools to help employees sort through their plan choices.

2. Affordability mechanisms: Small businesses want a decent benefit package for their employees with reasonable cost sharing. It’s time to beef up the Utah Premium Partnership program and to promote the premium aggregator.  Both are critical to the state’s health reform goals of getting more people covered.