Those who work with self-funded employer groups continue to face challenges in helping those groups find a balance between affordable coverage and managing costs. Such challenges aren’t new, of course, but the way we are addressing them is changing.
PartnerRe’s Employer Programs Group, led by Vice President and Director Matthew Leming, is reaching out to brokers and administrators to be a more proactive partner. The aim is prevent loss when claims occur, as well as proactively partner to help manage costs throughout the policy coverage. Leming, who recently assumed his new role, spoke with us about what he sees as the challenges and opportunities of this dynamic market.
Q. What changes are employers facing?
A. All employers seek to obtain the best medical coverage value for the best price. Doing so, however, is complicated by mergers and acquisitions — for example, the proposed Anthem acquisition of Cigna and the pending consolidation of Aetna and Humana as well as the overall complexity of the market. That complexity has only increased since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). PartnerRe partners primarily with brokers and administrators working with self-funded employers, insuring them against catastrophic healthcare claims. These employers face several challenges:
Q. How is the ACA affecting employer programs?
A. One clear issue coming out of the ACA is that employers are spending more energy to determine what drives their healthcare spend. The inability to know and plan for all the issues in the employee population has made partnerships with knowledgeable vendors imperative. In addition, consumers are also affected as employers shift larger portions of the cost to them. The effect of this shift is that individuals may become more cost-conscious consumers and purchasers of healthcare.
Q. What other issues are affecting employer programs?
A. State legislation and market complexity also impact employers. Some state legislatures mandate policy benefits. And, as the overall market has become more complicated, in some cases employers face other healthcare plan limitations.
Q. How and why is PartnerRe’s Health Employer Group changing?
A. Employers today often don’t have the time to maintain current expertise in the ACA and insurance. Their focus is on managing their business. That’s where partnerships with their reinsurer, broker and administrator comes into play. As a reinsurer, PartnerRe offers valuable expertise necessary to help educate our clients. Our ability to be not only consultative but to challenge current market perceptions enables us to take a unique approach within the markets we serve. We are exploring ways to take advantage of new opportunities to provide our clients with enhanced value. Admittedly, we cannot be everything to everyone, so it’s important for us to nurture relationships with production sources with whom we can mutually grow and prosper.
Q. What are your biggest challenges and opportunities?
A. The Employer Programs Group encourages our clients to work with PartnerRe early in and throughout the process to manage claims costs. By working in a proactive manner in catastrophic claims prevention, we make sure that we do not miss any opportunities to help the employer mitigate large losses. It’s often the minutiae, such as eliminating duplicate charges; reducing billing errors; identifying appropriate network options; and so on, that employers often don’t have the time or resources to address — but we do.
Q. What approach is your group taking with administrative services–only (ASO) groups, direct-to-employer contracting, and captives?
A. We are aligning our resources internally to deliver what our producers need. Today, we typically work through brokers and administrators that specialize in bringing the best programs to their self-insured clients.
We work collaboratively with our clients with the goal that invite us to the table with their clients to discuss their challenges and solutions we have available. We strive to be the partner who helps them meet their needs and objectives. Our product solutions can be customized to include options for commercial customers, captives and coalitions.
In the end …
The Employer Group at PartnerRe strives to provide the highest quality customer service and products. To be that quality organization and help our clients succeed, we continue to understand them, sharpen our focus, and align our resources.
Our goal is for our mutual success. Contact us today for more information.
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