Insurance companies that you’d traditionally think of as medical carriers are making significant inroads into the ancillary market (dental, vision, disability, life) with a strong value proposition for employers. The details vary by carrier and state, but generally, groups bundling ancillary and medical lines under the same carrier receive incentives like multiline discounts of up to 4% off medical premiums and/or a percentage off ancillary lines, combined ID cards and bills, and single sign-on member websites. Most importantly the integration of carrier data systems provides health insights that can lead to early disease detection, early intervention and increased engagement in clinical programs.
In short, when a medical vendor manages the whole package the system functions more smoothly and they are able to better manage your population’s health – in turn providing savings to the plan. We’ve all heard the stories of routine dental and vision exams that uncovered heart disease and diabetes. Another example is early intervention through added physical therapy visits, helping disabled employees return to work sooner.
Despite the strong value proposition, many consultants and groups are reluctant to place non-medical business with the ancillary arm of a medical carrier. People’s skepticism of traditional medical carriers’ ability to service non-medical lines seems to be the main roadblock.
I say take the money, ease your administrative burden and allow carrier systems to integrate data for you and your employees’ benefit. A big part of what consultants do is explore and implement strategies that take advantage of aligned interests and save our clients money. In the current state of healthcare these strategies have never been more important, so don’t take savings off the table! After all, I have yet to work with a flawless vendor. Why not explore multiline options, select the best vendor and tightly manage the process when necessary?