The CBIA Health Connections private sector exchange is nationally recognized as a successful small business exchange. Ken Comeau, who is VP Products & Services with CIBA, shared some of the lessons learned when he participated in a forum on how to best implement the SHOP Exchange in California sponsored by The California Endowment and the California Small Business Majority on November 16, 2011. We have gathered some of Mr.Comeau’s comments here.
On Standardization “The plans offered through CBIA are standardized. CBIA, not the insurers, designs the products. In order to avoid adverse selection, CBIA offers four carriers, 11 standardized benefit levels plus four HSA plans for a total of 48 plan choices. This allows significant employee choice. With standardized benefits, carriers have to find other ways to stand out other than plan design.”
On Ease of Use “Services that make the exchange easy to use are crucial. Many have compared using the exchange to booking an airline ticket online. That is a mistake. Making travel plans is fun; buying insurance is not. That is why CBIA works hard to make the complex and time-consuming tasks of buying, selling and administering insurance easy. For instance, CBIA, which sells entirely through brokers, pays the broker commissions and transmits all premium payments to the carriers. CBIA has also made sure brokers can manage their business from the CBIA website. All their information is in one easy-to-access location.”
On Navigators Navigators’ key role will be reaching under-served populations. Agents and brokers have training and licensing to ensure they are knowledgeable about health insurance. It is critical that navigators have similar training to ensure they are providing valuable assistance to underserved people—many of whom will be purchasing health insurance for the first time.”