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Americans are baffled by health insurance elections

November 4, 2014

149 million people representing 55% of working Americans are covered by employer sponsored health insurance plans. Yet the large majority have no access to advice or information other than provided by the employer, the company selling the insurance or the company handling the enrollment. As a result, many employees choose inefficient coverage options and a significant number elect coverage that could have been provided at a lower cost through a spouse’s plan.

Since the implementation of Obamacare, millions recognize that their out-of-pocket risks have increased and that employers are passing on price increases to the employees. Independent professional help with health insurance options is available for as little as $20 per year but most employers have not incorporated this benefit into their existing plans.

Part of the reason may be that existing group health insurance brokers have no desire to allow employees to have access to alternative coverage options. Employers might not be convinced of the cost savings that result when employees have access to coaching on options outside of the employer-sponsored plan. An independent adviser, for example, will typically help reduce duplicate coverage of married employees whereas a group health insurance broker has no motivation to do this.

My own experience shows that this is an area of enormous untapped improvement and cost savings in employer-sponsored health plans for many types of businesses.

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