Hospital Cash: Help Your Clients Relieve Out-of-Pocket Burdens

Even as a P&C broker, you can help your customers relieve the pain of out-of-pocket medical costs

The DBL Center is always on the lookout for creative tools to help you address your clients’ pain points when it comes to essential insurance coverage. While we specialize in DBL coverage and other temporary disability benefits, we know that many of our brokers also deal with major medical.

Even if you don’t, P&C brokers are in a unique position to help their clients address the painful medical renewals they face every year, as coverage levels decrease and premiums rise. In fact, the solution may be easier than you think, and it’s right in the wheelhouse of P&C brokers.

DBL Center President and CEO Michael S. Cohen sat down with Simon Klarides, Director of Business Development at ShelterPoint Life1 to answer our questions on how ShelterPoint Life’s recently updated Hospital Cash program fits in the picture – and to help you sell this commissionable coverage.

Michael S. Cohen: Simon, why do you think Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is a good option?

Simon Klarides: Let’s face it: Looks like high deductible medical plans are here to stay and they are placing more and more of a financial burden on the employees. Although Supplemental Medical Gap policies are not available as a solution in New York, simple, indemnity-based Hospital Cash insurance may present an option. In fact, we’ve configured our Hospital Cash2 product so that you don’t have to go through the full, traditional underwriting process: an alternative, much more streamlined way to get it is by selling it with DBL.

That sounds intriguing, but before we go into those mechanics, can you explain what exactly Hospital Cash indemnity insurance is?

Sure. Hospital Cash pays a fixed amount per day while confined to the hospital for at least 24 hours. This helps with expenses that result– such as copays and deductibles. I remember a Business Insurance article stating that 43 percent of adults said their deductible is difficult or impossible to afford.3

Anyway, our Hospital Cash benefits are paid for an unlimited continuous number of days per hospital stay, and they are paid independently from any other insurance. The nice thing is that benefits are paid directly to covered individuals and can be used however they choose, whether to help with medical bills or everyday expenses like groceries or the phone bill. And what’s even better – our plans cover not only the employee but the whole family!

So how much does Hospital Cash indemnity insurance pay?

New York State regulates the maximum daily benefit by region. The maximum for NY metro areas is $240 per day and $165 per day everywhere else in New York.4 As I mentioned before, there’s no cap for the number of continuous days per hospital stay. Skilled Nursing Facility stays are covered at the same benefit level but are limited to a maximum of 5 consecutive days.

Let’s circle back to how Hospital Cash indemnity insurance can be sold by brokers and in conjunction with DBL. Can you explain, Simon?

Yes! The easiest way of giving clients this coverage is by getting it at time of DBL application. We’ve created a simplified version as part of our BaseLine suite of products that is issued on a non-roster basis with flat per-capita rates – just by checking a box. This means, no enrollments are required while all active employees and their family members are automatically covered.

While Hospital Cash may certainly benefit groups regardless of how robust their medical coverage is, we typically see the sweet spot for this coverage with micro groups that have minimal medical coverage with high deductibles, if any coverage at all. Many times, these types of groups don’t have a benefit broker at all and look to their business insurance broker for guidance. That’s where you can differentiate your approach as a P&C broker to be more consultative and provide extra value to your clients, all while making more commission.

That’s very insightful. Now, for brokers who are looking to sell Hospital Cash, what if their clients already have DBL, whether through ShelterPoint or not?

The BaseLine version of Hospital Cash can be added at time of DBL renewal for existing ShelterPoint customers, and I know your team, Mike, can help with that. For groups with DBL elsewhere or groups that want customized benefits and riders, we still offer Hospital Cash on a traditionally underwritten basis.

Hospital Cash indemnity insurance will help differentiate yourself from other brokers. Call us here at The DBL Center to add this coverage for your existing clients or chat with us about options how to assure that this gets added to your future cases.

Learn more about ShelterPoint Life’s Hospital Cash here.

Reference Notes:
1 ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, a NY-domiciled insurance carrier with principal office in Garden City, NY
2 BaseLine version of Hospital Cash policy available in NY only and underwritten by: ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company, Form# SPL GHC115 P NY. The policy described in this post provides limited hospital cash benefits only. It does not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Lack of major medical coverage (or other minimum essential coverage) may result in an additional payment with your taxes. Policy provisions, conditions, and exclusions apply. Download this BaseLine Hospital Cash brochure for more information on the BaseLine (non-roster) version. Download this brochure for details and state availability of the FlexLine (traditionally underwritten) Hospital Cash version; this version is available in and underwritten by ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company in NY (SPL GHC115 P NY) and MI; ShelterPoint Insurance Company (licensed in 48 jurisdictions, not including NY) in all other available states outside NY and MI.
3 Livingston, Shelby. Business Insurance 11/25/15 and Commonwealth Fund & Kaiser Foundation, 2017
4 Metro New York area: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Manhattan, Nassau, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. All other New York counties are considered non-Metro.

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The DBL Center Now Offers Medicare Advantage Plans

Earn robust commissions when you refer your customers to our Medicare specialist.

Brokers who write their policies through The DBL Center now enjoy yet another advantage in addition to our excellent choices in disability insurance and ancillary benefits and our personalized, white-glove service. We recently signed with a Medicare specialist who can help you earn robust commissions with lifetime renewals on Medicare Advantage policies.

More than 40 million Americans qualify for Medicare.What Do Medicare Advantage Plans Offer?

Previously known as Medigap coverage, and sometimes called Medicare Plan C, Medicare Advantage plans are a private insurance option to Medicare Parts A and B. They provide all the coverage of Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (healthcare coverage). But these plans offer added benefits beyond government-provided Part B coverage. These benefits may include expanded choices in healthcare providers, lower deductibles, prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D), and even vision, dental, or hearing coverage.

When Can Customers Sign Up?

If you know anything at all about Medicare, you might know there are specific enrollment periods.

Three months before an individual turns 65, up to three months after their 65th birthday, that person can enroll in any Medicare Advantage plan.

Current Medicare recipients can change their Medicare Advantage plans or switch to Medicare Advantage every year between October 15 and December 7.

That means, the time to inform your customers about Medicare enrollment is right now. Many people don’t realize they can change plans during this Annual Enrollment Period. But you’ll always have an influx of new leads as your current customers turn 65, too.

Our Specialist Understands the Options… So You Don’t Have To

Medicare Advantage plans come in many forms, including HMO and PPO plans and a host of others. It can be confusing to sift through all the options—and then explain them to customers who may have, previously, been accustomed to simply taking whatever health care coverage their employer offered.Medicare-Advantage-Graphic

When you write Medicare Advantage policies through The DBL Center’s Medicare Division, you don’t have to understand the intricacies of Medicare, including enrollment periods, penalties, and private plans. Simply introduce your customers to our Medicare specialist, who will explain the choices, match your clients with the best plan, and write the policy.

You collect robust commissions with lifetime renewals… and virtually no extra work. It’s consultative selling at its best. You build the relationship, and become their trusted resource. Our specialist steers them the right way. We all make money.

A Growing Population of 65+ Americans

Your current disability and ancillary benefits clients will, someday, turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.  Chances are, you also know people in your personal life who are currently trying to make sense of the confusing “alphabet soup” of Medicare. Here’s your chance to help as their trusted resource and introduce them to someone who can guide them through the Medicare maze.

Here at The DBL Center, we are always looking for ways to help our brokers expand their book of business and earn more money. In 2010, there were 40.3 million Americans over the age of 65, and that number continues to grow as Baby Boomers age.  With 31 percent of Medicare enrollees purchasing Medicare Advantage coverage, it’s the right time to tap into this lucrative market.

Contact The DBL Center Ltd. today to get started earning robust commissions on Medicare Advantage plans.

Photo © Aidan Sally, Flickr Creative Commons

 

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How to Bundle Insurance, Build Loyalty, and Save Your Customers Money

Bundle insurance benefits packages to save your customers money and earning more commission with bigger sales.

If you’re a health insurance, disability insurance, or P&C broker you understand the pain of dwindling profit margins, increased premiums, and reduced choices for your customers. Good brokers look for ways to save their loyal customers money and deliver greater value.More brokers, today, are discovering they can save their customers money on disability insurance and ancillary benefits if they bundle insurance benefits together and purchasing from one wholesaler.

The Time-Tested Concept of Bundling Services

The idea of “bundling” services to save money isn’t new. About a decade ago, before streaming video services broadened our television horizons beyond cable, consumers bundled their home phone, cable, and Internet service together for substantial savings. People still do it today—although there are even more technology options available.

In the insurance industry, P&C brokers are very familiar with a number of ways to bundle insurance coverage. Individual and business customers alike may bundle property and auto insurance under one carrier for significant savings.

Why not take that one step further and bundle insurance products like your corporate customers’ ancillary benefits under one carrier, too?Smart brokers bundle insurance to save their customers money.

Whether you’re a broker currently selling P&C products, health insurance, or disability coverage, you can bundle insurance together through The DBL Center Ltd. and pass the savings on to your customers. They might be encouraged to purchase additional ancillary benefits or products like enriched DBL with the savings. You’ll build loyalty and develop even better relationships with your corporate customers as you take a consultative selling approach to your business.

What Can You Bundle?

Traditionally, many companies bundled health-related insurance products like vision and dental coverage through their health insurance provider. But the Affordable Care Act has led to increased premiums and decreased coverage.

Smart brokers—including P&C and best-in-class health insurance brokers—can fill those gaps when they bundle insurance like dental and vision coverage, previously purchased through health insurance companies. It makes just as much sense, today, to bundle ancillary benefits with mandatory disability coverage—a product your customers in New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii need to buy anyway.

The DBL Center also provides long-term disability, Group Life / AD&D, enhanced disability, and other benefits in bundled packages for cost savings and easier management of policies. We can even help you provide customers with 401K employee retirement benefits. For smaller businesses and individuals, we offer disability income replacement (DI) coverage and individual life insurance, giving our brokers endless options to cater to any size customer.

Let The DBL Center Do the Work

By working through The DBL Center Ltd., you always have one point-of-contact for all your insurance sales, commission checks, and customer service, saving you time. And you’ll save your customers even more money by letting us help you bundle insurance benefits under one carrier.

We will shop around to find your customers the best rates, including the lowest premiums and highest quality coverage, in a bundled benefits package. We do it all, acting as your white-glove back office service staff to write the policies and service your customers in a white-label capacity, freeing you up to sell more insurance, recruit new customers, expand your book of business, and cash commission checks made out directly to you.

Bundling benefits makes sense for brokers and their customers. So does working with an insurance wholesaler to capitalize on a number of different ways to bundle insurance. Why not call The DBL Center and get started today?


Reduce Insurance Rates and Claims Through Laughter?

Laughter is good for the heart and boosts immunity. How can business owners and HR professionals use this information to create a happier, healthier workplace?

Smart business owners and HR professionals look for ways to reduce health care and other insurance premiums. And the best brokers want to assist in these efforts, too. After all, reduced premiums and better coverage creates happier, repeat customers. If you’re an insurance broker and aren’t providing your customers with the lowest rates possible on mandatory disability coverage and ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, and life insurance—they will shop their policies elsewhere to find a lower rate and/or better coverage.Comedian Jim Florentine and DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen

One way to keep insurance rates low for everyone is to reduce the number of claims. Which brings us to a point you may not have considered: Did you know that happier employees are also healthier employees?

We’re going to take this one step further, so stay with us here. Daily laughter has been shown to boost immunity, help prevent diseases, and even reduce chronic pain.

Let’s look at three ways daily laughter can help create healthier employees (who, as a result, might make fewer disability claims due to chronic pain or disease).

Did you know:

1. Laughter helps the body fight disease—naturally.
Laughter reduces stress, and studies show that people who are stressed can’t fight illness as well. It also boosts immunity and disease-fighting antibodies.

2. Laughter can help relieve pain.
Laughter releases endorphins—the body’s natural pain relievers. We’re not saying you should ignore chronic pain, as it could be indicative of a larger problem, but if you feel a stress headache coming on, a belly laugh could be just what the doctor ordered.

3. Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter increases blood flow almost as well as cardio exercise, helping to keep the heart strong against heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

Plus, It’s Fun

These claims may seem far-fetched, but they have been studied for years and are backed by science. (Anyone remember Patch Adams?) Plus, everyone likes to laugh. There really isn’t a downside to bringing more fun into your workplace.

The DBL Center Ltd. has a new program in place that helps to make it possible. Through a partnership with Steiner Sports, we can book top sports stars, performers, and comedians to perform at your next corporate outing, holiday party, or charity event.

World’s Collide: When Comedy Meets Insurance

DBL Center partner Michael Cohen has a strong history in the comedy world as a former stand-up comedian and a continuing member of the Friar’s Club. Although he’s made insurance his life calling, he continues to seek ways to merge the two worlds.

Our arrangement with Steiner Sports is yet another element in the white-glove, first-class service The DBL Center provides to its customers. Our brokers can lighten up their own workplaces with laughter, or provide top comedy acts for their customers’ events through The DBL Center as a value-added service.

So why not bring a little laughter into your workplace? We’re not saying it will eliminate the need for high-quality long-term disability and ancillary employee benefit plans — these insurance benefits will always be important. But it might boost productivity, reduce sick time, and maybe even cut back on pricey insurance claims that cost everyone money.

Will you join us in our mission to get New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and the rest of the United States laughing a little more?


Affordable Care Act: Are Your Customers Happy with their Healthcare Plans?

The Affordable Care Act – Exploring the Consequences

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) saw many employers – especially small-to-medium size businesses, forced to reduce their company healthcare benefits in order to afford coverage. Healthcare insurance providers modified their plans to include higher premiums, larger deductibles, less coverage, and fewer options in healthcare providers. Additionally, ancillary benefits such as vision and dental care, which were previously part of a comprehensive health care package, are being dropped from healthcare plans.

Employees who still have basic medical coverage are counting their blessings: “Well, at least I still have coverage and I’m not being fined for not having healthcare at all.” Other Americans, who are self-employed or unemployed, face a scenario of healthcare options they can’t afford through the government marketplace, or paying fines for being uninsured.

Same Work, Fewer Benefits

If you look at it that way, employees are fortunate to still have coverage. But these hard-working Americans are doing the same work for their employer, working the same long hours, earning the same pay, but saw their take-home pay or their healthcare benefits reduced for no logical reason. Is that “lucky” or “fortunate?” We don’t think so.

Could you imagine joining a company with full dental coverage, expecting to have your children’s braces paid for or knowing you were covered if you needed oral surgery, only to find those benefits gone as a result of ACA? Maybe you have worn glasses your whole life and specifically requested a vision plan during salary negotiations to save you hundreds of dollars a year. Now, that benefit has been taken away and your employer isn’t sure how to make it up.

To be sure, changes in healthcare coverage place employers in a difficult spot, because they might face reduced company morale. They have to get creative with affordable perks or think outside the box in terms of benefits. (Continue reading and we’ll share more on how you, as their insurance broker, can help with this….)

Affordable Care Act: Impact on Insurance Agents

Finally, insurance agents are seeing profit margins erode. Healthcare is more difficult to sell, while commissions have dropped. Your customers are unhappy, but the products aren’t available for you to provide them with a better deal.

Insurance agents are fleeing the business in droves. According to the AFLAC Workforces Report for Brokers, 49 percenAffordable-Care-Actt of insurance agents are leaving the industry, while 67 percent say they know someone who has already left.

The upcoming 2016 election brings even more uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act, the future of health care in the U.S., and the profitability of a career as an insurance agent. But there’s no need to fear. Brokers across the U.S. are finding increased profits in selling ancillary benefits, including dental, vision, Group Life/AD&D, and enhanced disability benefits.

Why Ancillary Benefits Are the Answer

For employers, these ancillary benefits – which can be offered as 100 percent coverage or on a cost-sharing basis – can be the answer to reducing dis-satisfaction with current benefit plans and improving company morale. In some cases, they can replace benefits – like vision and dental – that were previously part of a company’s comprehensive healthcare coverage. In other cases, they can simply reduce the sting of higher healthcare premiums and deductibles, fewer choices in providers, or overall reduced coverage.

Ancillary benefits put the power back in the insurance brokers’ hands, so you can provide your customers with products that will make them – and their employees — happy.

As your full-service provider and back-office administrator for ancillary benefits like dental, vision, Group Life/AD&D and enhanced disability coverage, The DBL Center Ltd. can point you to the benefits packages that offer the greatest value to your customers, with multi-line discounts when you purchase benefits from the same carrier – and put money in your pocket.

If the Affordable Care Act has you shying away from selling health insurance, isn’t it time to consider bolstering your business with ancillary benefits?

Contact The DBL Center Ltd. today to see why ancillary benefits are the answer to increased profits and disability insurance is just the beginning.