The Affordable Care Act has changed the role of the adviser from insurance broker to that of a trusted adviser, counselor and compliance guru. Advisers hoping to thrive in this new environment will embrace the change less as a burden and more as an opportunity. 

“You've got a lot more front end work that has to happen,” CareOne Advocates co-founder Julian Lago said Wednesday at EBA’s Workplace Benefits Summit in Boca Raton, Fla.

But, he said, the ACA has also created an opportunity — clients are looking to advisers to help them sort through the law’s complexity.

See related: Has the ACA guaranteed benefit advisers job security?

To best assist members new to the marketplace, Lago said, advisers should provide a variety of services including transparency tools and have a strong knowledge of plans — providing simple, easy-to-understand answers to clients is essential.

Lago said transparency is particularly important because often times the same medical procedure can have a wide range of costs depending on where it’s performed. Good brokers help clients save money. Prescription medication also varies in price depending on where it’s filled, he said.

“There is a lot of utilization of advocacy now,” Lago said. “You want that advocacy to be transparent.”

Clients don’t just look to brokers during enrollment, Lago said, they rely on them in times of crisis.

“What do members want? They want peace of mind,” he said.

Lago would know.

When his child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Lago said he was overwhelmed after realizing generic insulin wasn’t offered on his plan. Health coverage is difficult to comprehend, he said, and that’s magnified during an emergency and clients will look to advisers for help.

Lago recommended having people answering calls 24 hours a day, which is what most large employers expect.

“We’re not an eight to five society,” he said.

A variety of experts should be available, he said, to handle the wide range of calls.

Clients want a personal touch, Lago added. The don’t want a call center in India to answer when they have a question concerning their health plan.



Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access