BAS President Arthur S. Taylor and General Counsel Marla G. Roshkoff attended the AHIP Conference "Preparing for Exchanges" in Chicago this past Wednesday and Thursday.
Taylor & Roshkoff attended the conference to meet with potential partners (insurance carriers, health plans, trusts [VEBAs, METs, & MEWAs], States, Brokers and others) looking for proven benefits administration solutions such as BAS' MyEnroll.com, and to "take the temperature" of the many players' readiness for running health care exchanges.
Taylor explained that "BAS' MyEnroll.com benefits enrollment & eligibility solution is perfectly suited to support the technological needs of forthcoming State (SHOP) and Private Exchanges. MyEnroll.com can provide Exchanges with the client acquisition, government subsidy coordination, accounting & billing, self-service quoting, self-service enrollment, premium billing, premium collection (checks and ACH), accounting and premium management that will be necessary for an complete, tried-and-true solution. Therefore, BAS is perfectly situated to support those who will be building and supporting State and Private Health Care Exchanges."
Taylor & Roshkoff were quite surprised on two fronts from what they learned at the conference. First, Taylor noted "it was surprising how unprepared most attendees not only appeared to be but who actually discussed their lack of preparation quite openly."
Roshkoff commented "it was interesting to see how many technology firms, many without any benefit plan administration experience, are promoting their capabilities for Exchanges. Everyone involved with the topic of Exchanges is saying Exchanges are about getting the right technology in place, which is attracting so many types of technology firms - many without prior benefits administration services. What many people are not realizing is that to be one of the best in a space requires having years of experience fine tuning one's technology. Employee benefits may appear to require only a simple process of collecting names, addresses, and elections then printing invoices. The reality is that there is plethora of rules across regulations like Section 125, carrier underwriting & eligibility rules, each employer's specific participation rule that need to be incorporated within the technology applications. Further, benefits administrators need to have robust HIPAA compliance practices, legal practices, call centers with benefits experience, leading edge systems and data security, and much more in order to be a real option for Exchange solutions. If those responsible for building out Exchanges think they are going to fit everyone into a few "buckets," and just throw some fancy user interfaces at the consumers, they're in for a big surprise."
Taylor provided an example "For one of our clients, we administer an insurance trust with 50 large employers employing about 35,000 employees. Even though these 50 employers (Trustors) buy their health insurance through the trust, the reality is that each wants what they want and their wants differ vastly among the 50 Trustors. Though all of the Trustors are all in the same industry, they each run their organization differently from the other Trustors." Each Trustor has a different employee hiring and retention strategy; including different strategies for balancing cash compensation with benefit plan cost sharing. Each Trustor has a different accounting system. And, each Trustor has a different type of workforce with varying abilities to go online for enrollment. Our successes managing this group are steeped in our MyEnroll.com enrollment & eligibility system's remarkable flexibility to quickly implement clients' solutions and kept adapting to their ever changing needs while balancing the complexities of insurance carrier and payroll EDI and the rules Mrs. Roshkoff highlighted."
Roshkoff said "AHIP did a good job in a short period of time bringing Exchange-interested parties together, but clearly there is a long way to go in what amounts to be about six quarters for those wanting to build Exchanges -- including States -- to be ready in 2013 for a 2014 launch, as required by regulations."
For more information about AHIP, go to www.AHIP.org. Both Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Roshkoff are members of the AHIP, but neither are compensated in any form by AHIP for their comments.