A NOTE OF APPRECIATION FOR ALIGNMENT HEALTH PLAN
BY PHIL CALHOUN
Independent brokers and agents offer their clients more solutions and gain a level of confidence with carrier partners who are proactive with member service, offer competitive plan designs, and commit to a competitively priced and robust provider network. Since books of business values and transfers are more important to more brokers, learning which carriers are truly broker friendly is critical. The service and support of brokers is paramount, but also the commitment and appreciation to our compensation at enrollment, renewal and in retirement helps brokers make long term decisions about carrier partners.
One carrier recently made a strong commitment to both brokers and members: Alignment, a Medicare Advantage Plan. This commitment is worthy of recognition.
Alignment Health Plan is powered by AVA®, Alignment Healthcare’s proprietary technology platform, which stratifies members based on their health status and social needs.
“AVA is a game-changer that sets Alignment Health Plan apart from other Medicare Advantage plans, built to aggregate and analyze member information in a way that empowers our doctors to provide truly personalized care for their patients,” said Dr. John Kim, regional chief medical officer, Alignment Health Plan CA. “Through AVA, we are able to predict possible care needs, allowing our care team to proactively engage with our members and intervene when needed to keep our members as healthy as possible.”
The move to bring to members the most advanced technology is one of the reasons to shine the light on Alignment. The other reason is this year Alignment has decided to work with brokers who retire from the insurance business and join the majority of carriers with a viable commission transfer process. Carriers with a broker friendly commission transfer process enable clients and brokers the benefit of a consistent broker relationship after enrollment and also beyond. Without this process brokers have no ability to gain value for their hard work when a carrier has no succession process. In addition, without a broker transfer, clients of a broker who retires or has a life event are left to contact the carrier’s 800 number for service and support.
Benefits of commission transfer
While most group and individual carriers have a viable transfer process, in the few cases where a Medicare Advantage and PDP carrier does not offer transfers, members are not serviced at the level experienced by their independent broker.
For example, during the Annual Election Period, MAPD and PDP members unattached to a broker will not benefit from the best practice of “shop and compare the market” as carriers are unable to perform this vitally important help. This essentially weakens the ability of the carrier to retain the member. Often the member either moves on and finds an active broker to shop and compare — or stays with what could be benefits and coverage that is less than desired for a member’s changing health requirements.
So, thank you to Alignment for the commitment to members and to brokers.
The commission transfer ability is a huge positive nod to the work brokers commit to handle, certify annually and stay current with provider networks and local plan availability. These brokers remain dedicated to the efforts needed to bring the best benefits to their clients for the most competitive price. Brokers who often stay with their top five carriers each year will benefit from taking a deep look at the client and broker commitment Alignment has made and consider adjusting their favorite carrier rankings.
FMOs and GAs
Most brokers work with a trusted Field Marketing Organization (FMO) or General Agency (GA) to assist them to sort through the many carriers and understand plan benefits which change annually. With this support, brokers can take this knowledge to their clients. The hard work brokers perform to find clients, discover their needs, shop the market, and match them with a benefit package that is in balance with their needs and fairly priced, rounds out how our industry functions in a client driven manner. In addition, when a carrier commits to service and support of both brokers and clients there is a WIN-WIN.
Over the years many changes have occurred — new carriers, entities acquiring carriers, carriers merging with other carriers. Through all of this, brokers play a very critical role to bring the plans from carriers to businesses and individuals. Brokers are there to assist clients by sorting through the options and matching them with plans that best suit their needs.
Final thanks to professional associations
Many times it is through the work of our professional associations that brokers can perform the work they do. Brokers are surrounded by the carriers and the plans they offer. So, we want to call out carriers who should be recognized for the efforts made to help brokers serve the public.
Please let me know when you have a carrier you would like to recognize and share your experience.
PHIL CALHOUN is president of Integrity Advisors. He published “The Health Broker’s Guide: How to Protect, Grow and Sell Your Commissions” eBook. Find it free online at www.healthbrokersguide.com.
Calhoun’s goal is to help active brokers reach 100% commission protection and help retiring brokers make the exit planning process work for them. Calhoun consults with brokers statewide. For more information visit