Brokers who partner with Aflac can now offer their large employer clients nationwide another comprehensive open-enrollment option through an agreement with Liazon, which operates the private benefit exchange Bright Choices.

This industry platform, along with other Liazon-powered exchanges, will feature Aflac’s group critical illness, accident and hospital indemnity plans. It’s also an opportunity for benefit brokers and advisers to expand their book of business, says Drew Niziak, Aflac’s SVP of broker sales.

“We expect to see a significant increase in enrollment via the Bright Choices private exchange next year as more brokers become aware of our partnership and the platform,” he says.

In an earlier statement announcing the partnership, Niziak stressed the carrier’s commitment “to finding new, innovative ways to support the growing broker market in our industry, and offering our products on Bright Choices will help grow and expand our distribution model with brokers and, ultimately, drive broker sales.”

Also see: “Private Benefit Exchange still on the rise.

More employers are contracting with or considering private health insurance exchanges, which were introduced to active employee populations in 2013 — a year before health plan options were made available on public exchanges. Prior to that, they have long been used to enroll retiree populations age 65 and older.

Decision support

This key trend is on the radar of brokers, 52% of whom are now selling exchange products, according to the 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report conducted by Research Now. Aflac predicted in a news release that “employers with 100 or more benefit-eligible employees will rely on brokers more than ever to help navigate these benefits options.”

Bright Choices offers a myriad of features to help employees match the right health plan to their unique needs. Side-by-side comparison tools are offered alongside comprehensive education materials, transparent pricing and hands-on support. A defined contribution model helps employers predict their annual benefits spend, while employees choose how to spend that their allotted dollars.

Also see: 17 private exchange leaders shaping the future of health care.”

Through Bright Choices, Niziak says “brokers can leverage Aflac products to offer a broader range of choices and build a personalized portfolio of benefits to offset rising major medical costs.” An effort also will be made “to ensure brokers understand and promote the value of Aflac plans, regardless of platform through which they deliver our products,” he notes.

Liazon’s decision-support system provides specific recommendations to employees on their entire benefit portfolio, which Niziak says “allows employees to more easily and accurately make complex decisions about their healthcare. We expect brokers to communicate these advantages as they enroll through the Liazon exchange.”

Alan Cohen, Liazon’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, lauded Aflac’s comprehensive voluntary benefit offerings and brand recognition, adding, “We both believe in empowering the employer to help their employees make better benefit decisions.” 

Shutan is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.

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