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As Congress works to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and work on a replacement, selecting health insurance is still a burden for employees who get their coverage through work. Healthcare costs are rising and there is a lack of transparency for price and quality of services. The way that people shop for health coverage is changing, according to Joe Donlan, senior vice president, segment leader — broker business, Connecture. He says that this challenge will continue into 2017 no matter what plan ultimately replaces the ACA.

“Health insurance is complex and therefore is often a tough sell in the consumer world. People might wait in line to buy the latest iPhone, but they won’t stand in line for health insurance or, at least, they won’t be happy about it,” says Donlan. He adds, “I think benefit advisers are in a unique position to drastically shift the way employers and consumers alike think about benefits, and I’m excited by that opportunity.”

Donlan will tackle how employers can work with advisers to maneuver through this complex health coverage maze and how technology can help in a breakout session entitled, “Innovation: The brokers innovation playbook” at EBA’s Workplace Benefits Renaissance that takes place in New Orleans on March 1 – 3. Donlan will be joined by Douglas Maher, executive director, employee benefits for EIIA.

“Our session goal is to leave attendees with a handful of critical and actionable tactics that have proven to help brokers and benefits consultants extend their relationships with their clients and increase their book of business. Our insight is based on years of best practices and data that both Connecture and EIIA have compiled and want to share, especially during a time when there is so much uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act and the implications of a potential ‘repeal and replace,’” he says.

The broker challenges
Maher will also discuss a case study that highlights one of EIIA’s partner accounts that recently focused on their benefits delivery program. “Ultimately, we want to make this session as interactive as possible, and give people a chance to share their own insights and learn from each other,” says Donlan.

Donlan believes that benefit advisers need to understand the challenges that benefit brokers and consultant face. “We understand what [they] go through every day. Their jobs are rigorous and competitive, and they have a ton of pressure on them,” he says. “At Connecture, we view their role —as a trusted adviser — as more crucial than ever.”

He adds, “And when you combine their skills and expertise as brokers/consultants with the latest in consumer-driven decision-support and engagement technology, I think that combination is powerful — and the driver of real positive change in our industry.”

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