Our Annual Survey–Helping Clients–Think Outside the Benefits Box–Using Voluntary Benefits to Boost Employee Morale
Voluntary employee-paid benefits are becoming more and more popular as employers struggle to offer employee benefits amid rising costs and shrinking budgets. These benefits offer employees the convenience and the discounted rates that they would not have access to on the individual market. But how does a benefit broker choose which voluntary benefits to present to clients? This survey of insurance carriers helps California insurance agents and brokers stay on top of plan changes from year to year. Many of the survey questions came directly from insurance agents in the state.
1. Please list the voluntary/employee-paid benefits that you offer along with the minimum group size for each offering:
Aflac: Aflac’s policies, from accident/disability to vision, offer direct to the-policyholder cash benefits, unless otherwise assigned, help cover what other insurance does not. Following is a list of individual plans* available through Aflac:
• Critical Care & Recovery.
• Hospital confinement indemnity.
• Hospital confinement Sickness Indemnity.
• Hospital intensive care.
• Juvenile life.
• Lump sum cancer.
• Lump sum critical illness.
• Short-term disability
*Certain policies may not be available in all states.
The following is a list of group plans available through Aflac Group:
• Critical illness.
There is no minimum participation requirement for our individual plans. We only ask that the client establish an account with us by completing and signing a Payroll Account Acknowledgement form and allowing three separate W-2 employees to enroll in at least one of our plans. Aflac Group requires a minimum of 25 payors to establish group billing.
Ameritas: Ameritas Group offers dental, vision and hearing on a voluntary basis. Dental and vision begin at three enrolled lives and hearing at 50; we also offer individual plans.
Blue Shield Vision: Blue Shield offers a voluntary vision plan to small groups with a minimum of five enrolling employees. Voluntary vision plans are available to mid-large groups with a minimum of 10 enrolling employees with the purchase of a Blue Shield medical plan, or 25% of eligible employees without purchasing a Blue Shield medical plan. For all groups, our plan is a 0/25/120 plan with a 12/24/24 frequency.
For mid-large groups we also offer a 25/130 plan with a 24/24 frequency and a voluntary online-only vision materials plan. This plan covers materials only, and allows members to use their vision benefits to purchase eyewear on the network provider’s Website.
Blue Shield Dental: Blue Shield also offers voluntary dental plans (HMO, PPO, and in-network only) to small groups with a minimum of two enrolling employees; there is no minimum for mid-large groups.
Cigna: CIGNA Voluntary is a division of CIGNA HealthCare, offering limited-benefit medical, dental, pharmacy and vision care plans and discount programs, as well as group life and accident disability insurance. All CIGNA voluntary products are available to groups with at least 51 eligible individuals.
Colonial Life: Colonial Life offers voluntary benefits to businesses with as few as three employees up to thousands of employees. Our product portfolio includes individual and group voluntary products for short-term disability; term, whole life and universal life; hospital confinement; cancer; critical illness; and accident.
Delta Dental: Delta Dental of California’s voluntary dental plans are for employers, associations, affinity groups, and other trust organizations that wish to offer employee-paid comprehensive dental coverage. Delta Dental offers a variety of features and benefit plan designs that allow employers to offer our Delta Dental PPO, Delta Dental Premier and/or DeltaCare USA products to meet their needs. These dental plans have the same quality standards, cost savings, and ease of use as our employer-financed products. Plans are available based on a variety of premium contribution levels from fully employee paid to some level of employer contribution. Voluntary plans require a minimum participation of five primary enrollees.
Guardian: Voluntary LTD – minimum group size: 10
Voluntary STD – minimum group size: 10
Voluntary AD&D – minimum group size: 10
Voluntary Life – minimum group size: 10
Voluntary Critical Illness – minimum group size: 10
Voluntary Dental – minimum group size: 5
Voluntary Vision -– minimum group size: 50
Health Net: Health Net offers voluntary dental, voluntary vision, and voluntary term supplemental coverage to groups of two or more. Voluntary term supplemental is offered as a buy-up option to basic group term life coverage.
Humana: The minimum group size for the voluntary products is five lives. Humana offers a comprehensive suite of products that includes: life, disability, accident, critical illness, cancer and supplemental health.
MetLife: In addition to traditional voluntary, employee-paid options for life, dental and disability insurance for employers with 10+ employees, MetLife and its affiliates offer the following voluntary/employee-paid benefits: group auto and home (employers with 500 or more employees); underwritten by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliates: Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company, Metropolitan Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Metropolitan General Insurance Company, Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Company, and Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, all with administrative home offices in Warwick, RI. Group Legal (employers with approximately 10 or more employees) through Hyatt Legal Plans, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, or, in certain states, underwritten by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Warwick, RI and in Florida provided by Hyatt Legal Plans of Florida, Inc. Critical Illness (employers with 500 or more employees).
AccidentAdvance – 2
Accident Select – 2
CancerSelect Plus – 2
CriticalAssistance Plus – 2
CriticalAssistance Select – 2
Dental – 10
Family Legal – 10
myPack – 5
TAC$Advantage – 2
TransConnect – 2
TransChoice Plus – 50
TransDI Plus – 2
TransLegacy – 2
TransSure – 2
Vision – 10
Unum: Accident: 10 lives, specified critical illness: 10, Group critical illness: 250, MedSupport: 10, term life: 10, Interest-sensitive whole life: 10, universal life: 10, group voluntary short term disability: 10, voluntary individual short-term disability: 10, group voluntary long-term disability: 10, individual disability: three, group voluntary long term care: 15, individual long-term care: three, and AD&D: 25
2. Do you have any benefit offerings for employees that work fewer than 40 hours a week?
Aflac: Yes. All of our individual and group plans are available to all full time employees, as defined by your client, that work less than 40 hours per week. Please note the following:
• Individual accident and short-term disability plans — Employees must work a minimum of 30 hours per week.
• Group accident and short-term disability plans — Employees must work a minimum of 16 hours or more per week. Seasonal and temporary employees are not eligible for coverage under our group plans.
Ameritas: All our benefits can be reviewed and customized to accommodate work hours less than 40 per week.
Blue Shield: Yes. Blue Shield can create benefit plan designs that include offerings for employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week, depending on what the client would like to offer.
Cigna: Yes. CIGNA Voluntary is a leading provider of limited-benefit health plans for full-time and part-time hourly employees. We serve industries, such as hospitality, retail, staffing, and construction. Our plans offer a reasonably priced health insurance option for employees who don’t qualify for major medical plans. Employers who offer our plans can experience reduced turnover, improved recruiting and more predictable benefit expenses for their hourly workforce.
Colonial Life: Yes. All of our products are available to employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week. Employees must be actively at work and permanent employees of the employer group.
Delta Dental: Yes. The client specifies eligibility rules. Our voluntary plans are a solution to the benefit needs of part-time employees, retirees, association members and cafeteria plan participants.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian benefits can be offered to employees that work less than 40 hours a week.
Health Net: Yes. Health Net allows coverage for full-time employees working 30 or more hours per week.
Humana: Yes. Many of our groups have associates who work 20 hours a week. We also offer solutions for various groups and classes within one employer group. Long-term care (employers with approximately 10 or more employees); Pet insurance (employers with 500 or more employees) through National Casualty Company, Madison, WI, and veterinary pet insurance Company, Inc., Brea, Calif.; Disability (employers with approximately 10 or more employees); life (employers with approximately 10 or more employees); and vision (employers with 500 or more employees), through EyeMed Vision Care, Mason, Ohio.
MetLife: Yes, MetLife and its affiliates work with each employer to determine the eligibility requirements for the employee population. However, we also adhere to all applicable laws and regulations concerning eligibility, which, in some states, exclude those not working more than 24 or 30 hours a week.
Unum: Yes, our offerings are available to employees who work 20 hours.
3. Do you offer flexible enrollment data, billing capabilities and processes that work with the employers’ systems instead of the other way around?
Aflac: Yes. Aflac Wingspan Enrollment Solutions help remove enrollment obstacles by streamlining the benefit enrollment process for your client and their employees. Our technology-based services can help simplify the enrollment process. We offer the following enrollment methods:
• One-on-one laptop.
• Call center.
• Web self-service.
• A combination of the above.
These services are provided to your client and their employees at no direct cost. Through our SmartApp Next Generation software, we can process a large number of policies quickly and accurately. Business submitted through our software, located on our agents’ laptop systems, can be issued without human intervention (resulting in a 24-hour turnaround time). These services apply to our individual plans only. Aflac has the capability to transmit billing data to an account in a variety of different ways. Aflac agents will work with your client to discuss available enrollment and billing options and determine which options will best meet their needs.
Ameritas: Yes, our goal is to keep the difficulties of administration behind our walls. We offer many flexible solutions that work with our customers’ systems.
Blue Shield: Blue Shield can accept electronic eligibility from any employer group or vendor that can submit the data in one of Blue Shield’s accepted electronic formats. Blue Shield requires that all eligibility and enrollment data be submitted in full compliance with EDI standards under HIPAA requirements.
Although we have few limitations in receiving eligibility data electronically, we do require the eligibility information be sent in one of our two preferred formats, the HIPAA-compliant ANSI 834 format or our proprietary Common Record Format (CRF).
Billing Capabilities: If the client elects to have Blue Shield pay claims on their behalf, the client is responsible for establishing a bank account for reimbursement.
If the client chooses to pay via Automated Clearing House (AHC) credit, the client is responsible for paying account set-up fees and incremental bank charges.
If the client chooses ACH debit for claims payment, Blue Shield will cover the ACH setup fees and incremental transaction charges.
Cigna: Yes. Whether an organization represents a few hundred or thousands of part-time and hourly workers across the nation, we have a solution that will reduce the burden of plan administration. We can provide files that can be uploaded to interface with a client’s own payroll system.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life’s Harmony enrollment system is built to accommodate the many specialized needs businesses have for enrollments and data reporting. We can provide face-to-face enrollments at any business location and during any work shift. We can also give employers daily enrollment reporting, such as which employees have been seen and what they’re buying. This reporting capability allows the employer to assess the enrollment’s progress daily and make any necessary adjustments. Colonial Life also has several convenient electronic services for businesses that allow them to get their bills, make payments and adjust their bills, as necessary, online.
Delta Dental: Delta Dental has extensive experience working with a wide variety of employers’ systems and third- party administrators for the purposes of eligibility, enrollment and billing. We can accept eligibility transmission in the following formats:
• Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
• FTP with PGP encryption.
• E-mail with PGP encryption.
• Secure e-mail monitoring system.
• Secure Website (Delta Dental pick up or customer drop off).
• Web enrollment/directly online.
• Enrollment cards.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian offers a wide range of enrollment options (electronic eligibility files, online and paper enrollment) as well as billing options (online, paper and electronic fund transfer) to meet the varied needs of employers and ensure ease of administration.
Guardian recently announced the launch of a multi-carrier online enrollment platform as part of their EnrollmentWorks program. This new system enables organizations of 50 or more employees to manage their benefits carriers with a single online system.
The EnrollmentWorks platform, powered by PlanSource, one of the industry’s leading providers of employee benefits management services, offers the ability to:
• Give employees electronic access to their portfolio of benefits, regardless of carrier, from any location
• Enroll in benefits and make life events changes online
• Support employee decision-making with helpful tools (e.g. compare benefits, view plan summaries)
• View detailed employee information and access a full record of employee changes
• Provide electronic data feeds to carriers
• View and edit bills
• Export files in common formats for COBRA, FSA and payroll
• Produce a current census and other useful reports
In addition to Guardian’s multi-carrier online enrollment platform, Guardian’s comprehensive EnrollmentWorks program includes 24/7 online access through Guardian Anytime, provider directories, a nationwide team of benefits advisors, a 24-hour employee benefits hotline, personalized enrollment kits, post enrollment support tools and the WorkLife Matters employee assistance program
Health Net: Health Net has a variety of enrollment and billing options, including electronic eligibility data transmission and Web-based tools. The company also offers a standard format for electronic eligibility transmission. If a client has a preferred format, Health Net will accommodate employers’ preferred formats whenever possible. For Medicare beneficiaries, Health Net uses paper enrollment applications.
Humana: Our goal is always to put the customers’ needs first. Enrollment data can be captured and transmitted via paper or most EDI files. Billing can be set up as a self bill or list bill and the client can remit payment via check or electronically online.
MetLife: Yes, MetLife, for itself, and as the billing service provider for its affiliates, is able to work with virtually all types of payroll systems.
Transamerica: Not necessarily. We have paper and electronic enrollment. The latter consists of Translink, Common Census or Excel spreadsheeting of enrollment data. We also have Web bill, self-bill and paper bill.
4. Do you offer the flexibility to conduct enrollments through one-on-one benefit sessions, group meetings, call centers, and online self-enrollments?
Aflac: Yes. We have the flexibility to conduct enrollments through each of the methods listed. However, the availability of each method is determined by the number of eligible employees.
Ameritas: Yes, Ameritas Group offers many different ways to enroll depending on the needs of the customer. All options above are involved depending on the number of lives being enrolled.
Blue Shield: Our commitment to providing our clients with high quality health care begins with responsive service and account management. Upon selection, Blue Shield will begin training the assigned member service team on the client’s benefits to ensure calls from the client’s employees will be handled in a timely and accurate manner. Team meetings will be held just before and after the effective date to re-emphasize the client’s plans.
During the enrollment process, the client will be assigned an account management team that will coordinate with the appropriate personnel to set up enrollment meeting dates and times. Blue Shield enrollment support staff will coordinate and conduct on-site employee meetings at client locations to educate potential enrollees about their Blue Shield health benefits package.
During these on-site employee meetings, we will provide and distribute member information materials, such as a provider directory, a participating pharmacy directory, a user’s guide to our products, an evidence of coverage booklet, and a continuity of care notice.
Blue Shield’s assigned account manager has the ultimate responsibility to work with the account service representative and the implementation team to ensure that the client’s implementation and enrollment process is completed in a timely and accurate manner. The client’s account manager will also respond directly to any questions and issues that may arise during and after implementation and enrollment.
Cigna: Yes. Each client is unique; how they communicate with their employees often depends on worksite characteristics. Our goal is to work with our clients to determine the enrollment support that makes sense. CIGNA Voluntary clients can choose enrollment methods that best meet their needs and fit with their culture:
• Paper enrollment forms (we can provide or the client can customize).
• The CIGNA voluntary enrollment center (we also offer foreign-language assistance).
The CIGNA voluntary on-line/Web enrollment (24/7 user-friendly access).
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life offers a full spectrum of benefits communication and enrollment options, including group meetings, one-to-one meetings, call centers and online self-enrollments. Our national team of local, professional benefit counselors uses the Harmony enrollment system to educate and communicate benefits to employees face-to-face so they can make better benefits decisions. For hard-to-reach employees, we can offer the same benefit communication and education experience by co-browsing with employees on the Internet, meeting through a call center or setting up online self-enrollments.
Delta Dental: For groups over 100, Delta Dental representatives are available to participate at open enrollment meetings and health fairs to provide information about our dental plans. We provide open enrollment support at no additional cost. Customized videos are also available in a variety of formats that explain the client’s benefit information and can be played at open enrollments or new hire orientations. Customer service is available to support questions about a plan’s coverage, but cannot accept enrollments. Enrollment is facilitated by the benefit administrator. Delta Dental gives benefit administrators access to an application that allows enrollees to select a benefit package online during open enrollment and update personal information online year-round.
Guardian: Guardian offers the flexibility for employers to offer a choice of enrollment methods to employees, including online self-enrollment and paper enrollment kits that can be personalized to each employee (in English & Spanish). In addition, Guardian offers additional support services, such as group meetings conducted by a certified enrollment specialist, toll-free benefit hotline in over 50 languages and turnkey employee communications at no additional cost to ensure the enrollment process is simple and easy for employers and their employees.
Health Net: Health Net provides on-site support, including bilingual representatives, if needed, to help employer groups with new case and renewal enrollment meetings. Additionally, our Customer Contact Center is available to answer any questions from and prospective members and clients.
Humana: One of our key selling points is the ability to offer comprehensive enrollment solutions. As part of Humana’s consumerism philosophy, our goal is to educate the employees about the products and services available to them and their families. A typical enrollment scenario may include payroll stuffers, enrollment posters, email blasts, then a face-to-face enrollment with the ability to capture any other associates through our call center or online enrollment capabilities.
MetLife: Yes, MetLife and its affiliates conduct enrollments/application processes through group meetings, our call center, and online. We work with the broker and employer to determine which enrollment/application channels will provide the best experience for a particular employee population.
Transamerica: Yes. We offer all of these options.
5. Do you honor broker-of-record letters?
Ameritas: Depending on the situation, we can honor them.
Blue Shield: Yes. Blue Shield Producer Services representatives can release information about application status to a broker if the broker is listed in our system as the broker of record and a signed Business Associate Agreement is on file. No additional information should be released to brokers unless the standard Verification of Identity policy is followed
Colonial Life: Yes.
Delta Dental: Yes.
Guardian: Yes, Guardian honors broker-of-record letters.
Health Net: Yes.
Humana: Yes. Additionally, all of our broker contracts are vested.
Unum: Broker-of-record letters apply to voluntary at a case level (while the individual policies remain vested).
6. Do you offer simple and hassle-free account billing and payment processes?
Aflac: Yes. Our goal is to make billing and payment of premiums simple and hassle-free for your client. Aflac’s systems are flexible enough to accommodate a variety of billing methods and handle almost any type of billing layout. Your client can be billed electronically, via paper, or your client can participate in Aflac Wingspan Online Services for accounts. Depending upon the billing method selected, your client will get an invoice containing the premium amounts due for the policies of the employees participating in our plans. The payroll-deducted premiums, for the employees, can then be remitted to Aflac via check, wire transfer, or through an automated clearinghouse.
Ameritas: Absolutely, our goal is to take the burden off of our customers. We listen to their needs and then enhance our billing and payment processes, whenever necessary, to make sure we’re meeting those needs.
Blue Shield: Yes. Under an ASO arrangement, there are several types of electronic payments for claims reimbursement. Through Automated Clearing House (ACH-Credit), ACH-Debit, or wire transfer arrangements, Blue Shield’s Accounting department will give the client our banking information and the client will then be responsible for managing the transaction. If the client chooses pre-funding, Blue Shield’s underwriting department calculates an initial deposit amount to be collected from the client, as well as the funding replenishment amounts and frequency. The client will remit the initial deposit to Blue Shield, then the replenishment amount by wire transfer or check. In all of these scenarios, a Blue Shield accountant will call or fax the claims check-write amount to the client’s contact person twice a week plus at month end. The Blue Shield accountant will then mail (or email upon request) the claims payment register report to the client as back-up documentation for the funding activity. The amount due can be segregated by predetermined client groups or divisions. Blue Shield accounting will give the client a detailed claims report (DCR) that summarizes all claims activity.
Under a fully insured arrangement, the client is responsible for managing the wire transfer process with their bank and Blue Shield’s bank. The monthly dues bill is generated and mailed to the client. It details the client’s employees and their dependents covered as of the 14th of that month as well as those who were deleted from coverage.
Cigna: Yes. We offer automated premium tracking with auto-termination functions to alleviate management of any outstanding balances and missed deductions. After our clients collect premium through payroll deductions, they can easily forward amounts to CIGNA Voluntary by check, wire or ACH.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life offers many electronic services for businesses that allow them to conduct transactions online such as receiving their bills, making payments and making any necessary billing adjustments. Colonial Life also offers Ez Billing to reconcile bills for accounts.
Delta Dental: Yes. Delta Dental has several billing and payment formats available depending on the client’s plan and preference. Our online billing and reconciliation application allows benefit administrators to view, pay, and reconcile enrollment online. Online features include the following.
• Shows the details of a selected invoice.
• Allows the administrator to attach a note to an invoice and submit back to Delta Dental’s Enrollment & Billing department.
• Enables the benefit administrator to download an invoice and save it as an Excel spreadsheet.
• Provides easy access to historical invoices and their associated notes.
• Provides a convenient and secure method for invoice payments.
• Provides option of paying invoices online or printing or mailing the remittance statement with payment.
• Allows the benefit administrator to view and track payment history.
• Enables benefit administrators to submit enrollee additions, changes and terminations.
• Includes tools to automatically compare a Delta Dental invoice to client’s remittance file and view and/or download results.
• Offers a view of the line-item adjustment summary.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian offers a range of billing and payment options from online to paper to electronic fund transfer to help meet the varied needs of employers and ensure ease of administration.
Health Net: Yes, Health Net offers simple, hassle-free account billing and payment processes including Web-based tools to help our clients and their brokers.
Humana: Once a case is sold, a dedicated account installation manager will implement it. Each case will also be assigned a dedicated billing representative who will ensure that the monthly bill is timely and accurate.
MetLife: Yes. A single bill file platform is available for all voluntary benefit products, which allows a single customer payment on a per-pay period or monthly basis.
7. Does your billing system allow plan administrators to make online deletions and changes to their plan account?
Aflac: Through Wingspan Online Services for Accounts, online billing allows your client to safely update, reconcile, and pay their Aflac invoice electronically. This automated service enhances accuracy, speeds transactions, and minimizes paperwork. Your client will save time and money as their electronically remitted payments and changes are processed faster.
Blue Shield: For groups new to Blue Shield, once eligibility data is got, an eligibility file is created in our processing system. An eligibility processor is then assigned to manage the account’s eligibility information, including additions and deletions, on an ongoing basis.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life offers online billing capabilities. A plan administrator also has the ability to make changes online, and update employees’ coverage and general information through a secure Website.
Delta Dental: Yes. Delta Dental’s online eligibility management system allows the clients’ representatives to add or terminate enrollees and dependents and modify enrollee information through a secure Website. Enrollment changes made by the client using our online eligibility system are made to the system in real time.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian’s benefit Website offers a one-stop source for plan administrators to manage their account online, including submitting eligibility changes that affect their bill. Plan administrators have the flexibility to recalculate their bill online to take any eligibility changes into account so they can adjust payments accordingly.
Health Net: Yes. Plan administrators can make most enrollment changes online.
Humana: Currently, the system permits groups who have purchased group term life to make such edits, but functionality for the voluntary benefits will not be available in 2011.
MetLife: Yes. Through our online billing system per pay period deduction amounts can be changed in accordance with each payroll run.
Transamerica: Yes. Unum: Yes.
8. Does your billing/payroll deduction process make it easy for the employer to offer multiple products?
Aflac: Yes. Aflac can facilitate even the most complex enrollment scenarios. Our Core Benefits Plus Aflac enrollment system allows employees to keep their coverage with other carriers. This system enables employees to enroll for core, voluntary, and ancillary benefits on a single software platform. Our Core Benefits Plus Aflac enrollment system is developed to meet the needs of each individual client. Aflac’s Response Requirements for Core Benefits Plus Aflac:
• 100 or more eligible employees for a laptop enrollment.
• 500 or more eligible employees for a Web self-service enrollment.
• Six weeks lead-time.
• Minimum of three Aflac plans offered.
• 1GB RAM for laptop enrollments (may require up to 2GB RAM).
• A customer agreement on the implementation schedule/timeline.
The number of total lives on our Core Benefits Plus Aflac system is more than 21,000.
Aflac’s largest client that utilizes our Core Benefits Plus Aflac system has 2,000 employees with a 25% to 35% penetration rate.
Blue Shield: Yes. By choosing a comprehensive solution from Blue Shield, clients can address their healthcare cost, choice, and administration concerns. We provide streamlined plan options and one-stop shopping for medical, dental, vision, and life products. Our one-stop shop will allow clients to enjoy the advantages of joint administration, which includes a single billing statement for medical and ancillary plans.
Ameritas: Yes. Making it easy to offer multiple plans is our expertise.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life can enroll an employer’s core and voluntary benefits and provide the account with enrollment data on all employee elections in an easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet. Employers can electronically submit this information through a secure Website, and Colonial Life reconciles the bill to eliminate any additional work for the employer.
Delta Dental: Yes. Delta Dental has several billing and payment formats available depending on the client’s plans and preference and will work with the client to determine the best process. The group sponsor is responsible for collecting the monthly premiums (through payroll deduction or automatic clearinghouse and submitting premiums and eligibility data each month.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian offers a single bill (online or in the mail) for all Guardian coverages a client has in order to ensure the payment process is easy to manage.
Health Net: Yes, Health Net offers consolidated billing for medical, dental, and vision products so that they appear on a single statement. Life Supplemental insurance is billed separately.
MetLife: Yes. MetLife can allow for a single voluntary benefit deduction for numerous benefits or separate deductions for each benefit on one single bill.
Transamerica: Yes. We offer list billing.
9. Does your system offer online searches for employee policy status, coverage effective dates and policy/coverage type?
Aflac: We offer the Aflac Wingspan online service for policyholders.
Policyholders can log on to aflac.com 24/7 to do the following:
• Check claim status.
• Update their personal profiles.
• Request forms or copies of their policies.
• Get contact information for Aflac agents.
• File claims quickly using Aflac SmartClaim.
Blue Shield: Within the My Health Plan section of www.blueshieldca.com, members are provided with a plan summary that is designed to answer common questions and personalized for their particular plan type. Available information includes eligibility for all members on a subscriber’s health plan, the type of plan, effective dates, copays for common services, deductible and copayment maximums, and plan options, and links to initiate common transactions.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life’s Ez Administration system offers online searches for employee policy status, coverage effective dates and policy/coverage type.
Delta Dental: Yes. Delta Dental’s online eligibility application allows benefit administrators to view and maintain coverage effective dates and coverage types, make real-time updates to eligibility data and improve the efficiency, accuracy and security of eligibility reporting. In addition, Delta Dental’s Website, www.deltadentalins.com, provides a multitude of useful features to registered enrollees behind a secure sign-on, including the ability to view benefits and eligibility information, including coverage effective dates and coverage types; print ID cards; verify plan deductible and maximum information; and view claims status and claims history for the past 18 months.
Health Net: Employees/members can confirm their coverage effective date and policy/coverage type online or by calling Health Net’s Customer Contact Center.
Humana: The employee can go online to view any EOBs about any of the health-based products.
Guardian: Yes, Guardian’s benefit Website offers a one stop source for plan administrators to manage their account online, including look ups for an employee’s policy status, coverage effective date and policy/coverage type.
MetLife: Our online billing system allows the employer to sort the bill by different criteria.
10. Do you offer downloadable claim forms?
Aflac: Yes. Policyholders can download claim forms from aflac.com.
They also get tips on expediting forms and a direct link for sending a message to our Claims Department. Aflac also offers SmartClaim, an online claim filing process.
Blue Shield: Yes. Members can download printable claim forms from www.blueshieldca.com. Claim forms are organized by pre-sale, post-sale, and product type.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial life provides claim forms on its Website at www.coloniallife.com that policyholders and plan administrators can download and print.
Delta Dental: Yes. Enrollees can download and print claim forms directly
from our Website. However, Delta Dental dentists agree to submit claims on behalf of the enrollee and to accept payment directly from Delta Dental; therefore, the only time an enrollee may be responsible for submitting a claim form to Delta Dental is when treatment is provided by a non-Delta Dental dentist.
Guardian: Yes, Guardian’s benefit Website offers a one stop source for plan administrators to manage their account online, including the ability to download claim forms or e-mail a claim form directly to someone.
Health Net: Yes. Employees/members can find claims forms on www.healthnet.com.
Humana: Yes. PDFs of all claim forms can be downloaded from the Website.
MetLife: Yes. For several product offerings that require claim forms. MetLife Auto & Home even accepts towing claims online in many states.
11. Do you require carrier reps. to have a comprehensive knowledge of all of the products they deal with
Aflac: Yes. Training for Aflac agents hits every facet of Aflac’s plans and sales cycle, such as field-tested scripts, brochures, one-on-one mentoring and online courses. Here are a few of the resources available to our agents:
• New Associate Sales School (features comprehensive training sessions for new sales agents).
• Ongoing training on new plans, services, and technology led by experienced trainers in a classroom setting.
• Coaching and mentoring from sales managers and veteran agents.
• Specialized training.
• Continuing education via Aflac University courses online (provides product, leadership, and industry training for agents at their convenience).
• Webinars and other online training materials available through Aflac’s Website. With the years of experience of Aflac’s District, Regional, and State Sales, Coordinator and our extensive training, agents have the knowledge to provide the best service to your client and their employees.
Ameritas: Yes. Our reps are experts on all products they sell.
Blue Shield: Yes.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life has a 10,000-member national organization of benefits professionals. These individuals get comprehensive product training through Colonial Life College on voluntary products and the employer’s core benefits, at the employer’s discretion. A major part of our mission is to help employees better understand their benefits programs, help them uncover their insurance needs and help them select the coverage they need to protect themselves and their families from financial risk.
Delta Dental: Yes. Throughout the year, we provide support through continuing education for consultants and brokers, such as lunch and learn presentations, CE courses and personalized support from our sales staff.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian sales representatives achieve a high level of comprehensive knowledge of the Guardian products they present through intensive and ongoing training. According to an independent survey conducted by JHA, producers rated us as exceeding the industry standard in the measurement of sales rep knowledge or product.
Health Net: Yes. Health Net’s Sales and Account Management teams must have a comprehensive knowledge of all Health Net products that they offer and support.
Humana: Yes. Each sales representative must go through an extensive sales learning academy, pass multiple tests, and continue to be accredited each year.
MetLife: Yes. Our licensed reps. specialize in voluntary benefits and many have extensive experience in designing benefit programs.
Transamerica: Yes. We require study of all Producer Guides and signed acknowledgments from producers.
Unum: Yes. We have an extensive training process, and sales reps are expected have an extensive and comprehensive knowledge of our group and VB products. They’re first year is dedicated to development, with a nine-month self-directed process of activities and testing.
12. How does your company support a good working relationships between brokers and carrier reps?
Aflac: Aflac offers complete insurance broker training, personalized support, sales materials, industry leading tools, and competitive compensation. Aflac is not about once and done. We are committed to providing continuous training to our brokers on the latest news and information, and presentations on industry topics and continuing education. In addition, our internal insurance broker team is always available to answer questions and provide personalized support.
Ameritas: Relationships are key with our brokers/producers. Our goal is to provide solutions they can offer our customers throughout the life of our relationship. Our service is not just at the beginning of a sale; it remains throughout the process and for the life of the case. This takes great relationship skills among all partners.
Blue Shield: Blue Shield recognizes the invaluable role brokers and consultants play on behalf of our shared clients. To this end, our mid-large Sales team members are assigned to brokerage firms so we can develop and maintain good working relationships with brokers. Additionally, we invite brokers and consultants to participate in our Shield University to share information about new and developing products and services to ensure our shared clients become aware of how Blue Shield can best meet their needs.
Cigna: Simple: We help our brokers offer solutions to their clients. First, we offer products and services that meet a critical market need. Then, we support those products with pricing, service and materials that clearly communicate the value of what we offer. In addition, our sales force maintains regular contact with brokers through lunch and learn events and market events. We often partner with our parent organization, CIGNA Healthcare, to produce broker forums and other conferences.
Colonial Life: Colonial Life places a high priority on working with brokers to help solve their clients’ benefit challenges. Colonial Life has regional broker marketing managers who are dedicated to strengthening broker relationships nationally and regionally, supporting national alliance partners and interacting with worksite specialist brokers. Because of our dedication to broker marketing, brokers have named Colonial Life their top choice six years in a row in a nationwide readers’ survey conducted by a major benefits industry magazine.
Delta Dental: Delta Dental focuses on providing brokers and consultants easy access to their client’s data during the RFP and renewal process. We believe that we provide more hands-on service than any other dental carrier before and after the sale.
Guardian: With one of the longest-tenured sales forces in the employee benefit industry, Guardian has a history of understanding the needs of growing businesses, which strengthens good working relationships. Guardian’s promise is to give brokers more ways to take good care of their clients. Our flexible and comprehensive product portfolio and responsive, personalized service support local relationships in delivering on this promise.
Health Net: To support the needs of our brokers and reps, Health Net has a dedicated account management team. We give small business group brokers direct access to account management teams responsible for territory and broker assignment/relationships. Brokers also have immediate, toll-free access to the Account Management team during business hours. In addition, our Account Service Unit within Health Net’s Customer Contact Center can provide claim and benefit information quickly.
Humana: Humana has a long history of strong relationships among brokers and our internal representatives. Brokers are integral to the success of our business and we provide opportunities, such as field advisory counsels, as a way for brokers to help develop the framework for developing new products and services that they believe are important to our employer groups. It is through these continued initiatives that we create a partnership between our sales associates, our brokers, employer groups, and the employees.
MetLife: Our reps. work closely with brokers to help provide solutions that meet the needs of their clients.
Transamerica: Corporate home office visits are regularly scheduled along with continuing education seminars, and sponsorship of educational workshops.
Unum: Yes. Unum has strong relationships with its sales partners throughout the United States, with 40 field offices that provide local sales and service support. Unum provides broker training opportunities throughout the year, including CE course offerings. We publish a quarterly newsletter for brokers and welcome brokerage firms to the home offices for information sessions and tours of its claims and service operations.
13. Do you offer marketing materials that are easy to present and simple for clients to understand?
Aflac: Your client’s Aflac service team is dedicated to working with them to ensure that the marketing campaign they select best suits their employees’ needs. All benefit education material is provided at no direct cost to your client. Here are a few ways we can educate your client’s employees about our plans and services: posters, flyers, brochures, payroll stuffers, flash presentations, an account Website, employer Website information, newsletter articles, and e-mails.
Ameritas: Yes. Ameritas Group insists on providing marketing material that is easy to understand. This is maintained throughout all our material, including correspondence. As far as we’re concerned, insurance does not need to be complicated.
Blue Shield: Yes. We create materials that simplify the most important aspects of each product so that our brokers can present the information in a clear and concise yet compelling manner.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life realizes benefits and insurance terms can be complicated. That’s why the company’s marketing materials are easy to understand. Simplified enrollment materials help employees better understand their insurance needs so they can make better decisions to meet their needs.
Cigna: Yes. CIGNA Voluntary is committed to improved communications with its customers through education and simplicity. Feedback gathered in focus groups and surveys has resulted in improved communication tools that help customers understand how limited-benefit medical plans work, the services available and how to maximize their health care dollars.
Delta Dental: Yes. We have a strong commitment to educating all of our customers. For brokers, consultants and benefit administrators, Delta Dental publishes an e-mail news-blast for key groups and brokers or consultants, a quarterly e-mail newsletter that provides dental benefit market news for brokers, consultants and general agents, and quarterly e-mail newsletter provides benefit administrators with the most up-to-date dental benefit news. Delta Dental also features online broker tools with information regarding: Our products, dental benefit pricing and sales, an RFP submission checklist, and a benefit administrator support guide.
Guardian: Yes. From marketing materials shared with brokers to bound enrollment kits personalized to each employee and beyond, the foundation of Guardian’s communications are centered on being easy to present and simple for clients to understand.
Health Net: Yes. Health Net takes great pride in the ease of use of our marketing materials. For example, Health Net has got tremendous positive feedback from brokers on the plan wheel, a visual aid that helps small business group brokers better understand our full portfolio of plans.
Humana: Yes. We have a comprehensive suite of materials that brokers can present to employers and another set of materials that are designed for the employees. Our research has shown that employees want benefits that are concise and easy to understand and our marketing materials reflect their needs.
MetLife: Yes. We offer a broad range of materials that are easy to understand and demonstrate the value of voluntary benefits to employees. MetLife will work closely with brokers and their clients to understand an employer’s workplace culture, communications style and preferences. This approach, coupled with our experience and knowledge of proven communications practices, will help to ensure that the simplest and most effective communications are implemented.
14. How do you track the quality of the customer service you provide to employers? For example, do you set annual service goals and measure and report results?
Aflac: We constantly measure our customer satisfaction level with policyholders and business accounts in a variety of ways, such as surveys and audits. We monitor satisfaction with the total Aflac experience and satisfaction with enrollment, claims and billing. Our customer service quality program is administered by the Administrative Best Practices Quality Department. Each major business function, (i.e. primary, claims, and specialty) is sampled monthly. Additionally, for quality scoring, Administrative Best Practices guarantees a minimum of five audits per month for each customer service center representative. All scoring and error trending are reported weekly, monthly, and quarterly to management. Our Internal Audit Department also conducts audits by line of business in addition to their annual assessment of internal claims controls.
Ameritas: All Ameritas Group’s customer service is measured through metrics down to the individual customer service associate. The tracking is done through our own systems and is based on all the major drivers of satisfaction for our customers. All metrics are integrated into our associates’ salaries to ensure common drivers of service.
Blue Shield: Blue Shield conducts annual internal member satisfaction surveys to gauge the overall satisfaction of our membership. Member satisfaction is evaluated through mailed and emailed annual satisfaction surveys and quarterly telephone surveys. We also encourage active dialogue between our clients and their assigned account management team to get a picture of overall satisfaction at the employer group level.
Cigna: Customer satisfaction is an extremely important component of assessing the overall quality of service provided by CIGNA Voluntary. CIGNA Voluntary uses established annual service goals to evaluate the performance of our Customer Service Representatives. Through a partnership with Convergys, CIGNA Voluntary implements regular customer satisfaction surveys.
Colonial Life: Colonial Life provides superior customer service to all of its customer groups: brokers, employers and policyholders. The company sets internal annual customer service goals and results are measured quarterly. Colonial Life also works with LIMRA to conduct quarterly and semiannual surveys of plan administrators and policyholders. Colonial Life reports those results through news releases and a quarterly service report card on its Website. In addition, all employees who meet with a Colonial Life benefits counselor are asked to rate their one-to-one benefit counseling experience during their enrollment. Every account participating in the post-enrollment survey gets a report card with the survey results.
Delta Dental: To ensure we consistently provide quality customer service, Delta Dental records all incoming customer service calls verbatim and actively monitors a random sample of calls to identify areas for ongoing training and service improvement. Customer Service management is responsible for evaluating politeness, professionalism, responsiveness and accuracy of information provided. Service goals are tracked daily, measured globally and reported annually. Delta Dental also conducts random surveys of participants to measure their general satisfaction with Delta Dental and their benefit plans and costs, the professionalism of dentists and dental office staff and the treatment provided, customer service and claims processing
Guardian: Guardian sets service goals, and tracks and reports the results each year.
Health Net: Yes, Health Net sets goals and tracks performance against key service metrics. We also conduct customer satisfaction surveys about Health Net’s services and support. Information is also gathered on customers’ perceptions of other health care insurers to provide Health Net with competitive benchmarks.
Humana: Humana has established metrics for each division of the company. For example, our service goal for customer service is 98% and in 2008 our actual number was 99.7%. Our average claim time for disability claims is five days or less. We constantly audit all calls and look for ways to improve our metrics to exceed our customers’ expectations.
MetLife: We provide utilization and participation reports to employers at their request. We also monitor our customer satisfaction levels through our call center on an ongoing basis.
Transamerica: We track customer service results according to average answer speed, abandonment rates, average turnaround time, and qualitative analysis. Annual goals are set, monitored and reported for performance improvement.
Unum: We certainly set goals around responsiveness and accuracy of service. We also have a quality assurance program that checks to see if we delivered our services in a timely and accurate manner as well. Additionally, we survey customers several times each year to better understand how they view their Unum experience.
15. Do you have an established local sales and service team that can provide critical service in the same cities that the broker’s clients are in?
Aflac: Yes. Aflac is represented by more than 70,000 licensed independent sales agents and brokers throughout the United States. Our certified enrollers are available to service multi-location accounts and we have a national sales coordinator team to manage these relationships.
Ameritas: Yes, Ameritas has local and remote service teams to provide all critical service. If claims information is needed after hours, our customer connections department is open until midnight central standard time.
Blue Shield: Yes. Our sales team is regionalized so that brokers have access to local sales support in their area, for new sales and renewals.
Cigna: Yes, CIGNA Voluntary has established territories that are serviced by new business managers and client managers across the nation.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life has a national team of 10,000 benefits professionals who provide local enrollment support and service for its broker partners’ clients. For example, the company has an account with 7,000 employees in 150 locations across the country. Colonial Life benefits counselors met with employees at each location and conducted individual counseling sessions with them. Because the benefits counselors are local, they can be on hand to help out with next year’s enrollment and any ongoing service needs. The goal is for the company’s benefits counselors to build strong relationships with employees in the account.
Delta Dental: Every client is assigned a designated account manager who is responsible for overseeing program implementation, subsequent renewal activities, day-to-day issue resolution, and for participating in information meetings with benefit managers and enrollees as needed. Delta Dental of California has sales offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, Cerritos, San Diego and Fresno.
Guardian: Guardian has over 55 local sales offices nationwide to support the needs of brokers and their clients.
Health Net: Yes, Health Net has several regional sales and service teams throughout California to support brokers and their clients.
Humana: We have account managers in most of our sales office (approximately 50 offices around the country) who can handle most calls as part of our single point of service. The claims and customer service team is primary in our Lancaster, South Carolina office, where 450 people are dedicated to our workplace voluntary benefits.
MetLife: Yes. We have representatives that specialize in voluntary benefits located in major cities throughout the U.S.
Transamerica: Not in the same city. We have local representation and a dedicated account manager for service support assigned to each region.
Unum: Yes. Unum has 40 local sales and service offices located throughout the U.S. with four locations in Calif.
16. Do you have a sales rep. and a service rep? (The sales rep helps the broker market and position products, manage blocks of business, and develop target markets and the service rep. helps implement and fulfill account enrollments.)
Blue Shield: Yes.
Cigna: Yes. CIGNA Voluntary New Business Managers partner with Brokers to present our product to prospective clients. Once a client chooses to offer CIGNA Voluntary products to their employees, we assign a dedicated client manager and a service team to implement the plans and provide ongoing service for day-to-day issues.
Colonial Life: Yes. Colonial Life’s national team of benefits professionals has specialized roles they perform during the enrollment process. Benefits professionals work with brokers and their clients to help develop voluntary benefit strategies that will help clients solve their benefit challenges. Account coordinators help manage the enrollment logistics and report. And benefits counselors meet individually with all employees to educate them on their benefits, help uncover any unmet needs and select insurance plans to meet those needs.
Delta Dental: Yes. To ensure that our clients get a high level of service, Delta Dental uses a team approach to provide service and rapid response. A client’s team will include a sales account executive and an account manager. Together, they are supported by account management specialists and administrative assistants.
Guardian: Yes. Guardian has over 250 local sales representatives to help brokers market over 120 benefit advisors dedicated to supporting enrollment efforts and customer services representatives available to serve the distinct needs of brokers and their clients.
Health Net: Yes. Health Net has sales and service representatives to help brokers and their clients.
Humana: Humana provides a dedicated team of account managers, renewal specialists, and account installation managers to each case. We realize that much of the work begins after the case is sold and our goal is to provide dedicated resources for our clients for the duration of the case.
MetLife: Yes, we have a sales team and service team that work closely together to meet the needs of our brokers and customers.
Unum: Yes. Unum has more than 500 sales professionals across the country, backed by a local service force of 1,000 professionals. The service team includes those who support Unum Enroll, our in-house enrollment team that supports voluntary benefit enrollment for employer groups of fewer than 500 lives.
17. Do you specialize in voluntary benefits?
Aflac: Yes. Aflac is a leader in guaranteed-renewable insurance policies sold on a voluntary basis that pay cash benefits directly to policyholders, unless assigned. With a broad range of policies and value-added services, Aflac’s offerings suit virtually every business size and type. From three employees to 30,000, Aflac fits easily within any benefit package. Many times in the voluntary insurance business, companies tend to use the same approach to market similar benefits. Aflac is different. We back our unique plans up with the following:
• Innovative marketing campaigns.
• Strong financial stability.
• Brand recognition.
• Solid company reputation.
• Industry recognized and rewarded claims and customer service.
Ameritas: Yes. Ameritas has been providing voluntary benefits since 1990. We consider ourselves specialists in that arena because of our extremely high satisfaction levels from our customers and our constant systems evolutions to accommodate the needs of our customers. To specialize in voluntary benefits, we believe this is critical to achieve a win/win for all.
Blue Shield: No. Blue Shield specializes in offering quality medical health care plans to create innovative solutions to California’s health needs. Blue Shield has been a leading provider of health care plans for more than 70 years, and our networks are among the largest in the state. We continue to maintain our commitment to our providers and consumers by offering innovative products and services to improve members’ access to quality and cost-effective healthcare services.
Cigna: Yes. CIGNA Voluntary’s mission is to improve the health and well being of the working uninsured by providing affordable and easy-to-understand coverage. CIGNA Voluntary is the dedicated voluntary plan unit of CIGNA. We offer a premier package of voluntary plans across the country.
Colonial Life: Yes. When Colonial Life was founded in 1939, it sold accidental death coverage to individuals. In fact, the company pioneered the concept of offering voluntary benefits at the worksite in the 1950s. Colonial Life has always marketed only voluntary benefits, and during the 70 years it has been in business, the company has developed strong expertise and experience in the voluntary benefits industry.
Delta Dental: Delta Dental specializes in non-voluntary, partially voluntary and totally voluntary dental benefit programs.
Guardian: Voluntary benefits are an incredibly important part of our group business. We do also offer plans that can be fully or partially funded by the employer.
Health Net: Health Net does not specialize in voluntary benefits. However, Health Net does offer the types of voluntary plans that are most commonly requested by our health plan customers.
Humana: Yes. Humana acquired Kanawha Insurance Company in 2007. Kanawha has been providing voluntary benefits for 50 years and is a licensed insurer in 48 jurisdictions.
MetLife: Yes. Our affiliates and we have been offering voluntary benefits for over 30 years and have a broad suite of market-leading products.
Unum: Yes. Unum is ranked second in inforce premium in the voluntary benefit market as reported by Eastbridge Consulting Group in 2008. Unum leads the voluntary market in sales of critical illness insurance and universal and whole life insurance.