Emphasize Quality Over Quantity with Intelligent Lead Distribution

The lead process is a lot more than a leap from Point A to Point B. It’s a collaboration between marketing and sales, and a deep dive into exactly what kinds of leads you are  looking to convert on consistently. 

The most simplified way to begin looking at the typical lead generation flow is through a sales funnel. These generally live on any number of marketing automation platforms, and work in tandem with a sales-focused CRM. And while platforms like these provide necessary functionality, they often leave something to be desired. 

That’s because these systems focus on lead management, not lead connection. 

Most CRMs advertise incredible value and ease-of-use, but don’t really do much to improve on one of the most vital aspects of the consumer experience – speed of service. And just how important is speed of service? Slow lead response time increases customer churn by an average of 15%.

So, how do you go about prioritizing lead response time in your organization? First of all, it’s important to reframe your view of the sales pipeline as a whole. Just because you have a lead hooked doesn’t mean you’ve reeled them in. Implementing advanced, easy to use technology that intelligently distributes leads will help you to make sure that every lead that’s generated is captured, validated, distributed and actioned in real-time.  

Instead of suggesting that you start from scratch, we think you should improve on the system that’s probably doing a lot right. Help On Demand enhances – not replaces – CRM systems and allows you to focus on increasing efficiencies in the actual sales process. Help On Demand will work with your company to analyze your sales team’s current practices, determine your specific needs, streamline your processes, and turn more leads into conversions. 

Request a demo today.

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How Does Dental Insurance Work? According to Forbes – Our Take 

Dental insurance – something that should be looked at as a necessity, not a luxury – can pay for itself many times over when you take advantage of your policy and maximize preventative care, regular cleanings, and more. 

But just like health insurance, it’s a complicated topic with lots of ins and outs that can be confusing for someone who doesn’t know all of the industry jargon. Plus, how dental plans work and what they cover can vary significantly from provider to provider and plan to plan. 

Forbes Contributor Erik Martin’s recent article, “How Does Dental Insurance Work?” looks to demystify dental coverage as a concept and explain the basics – from what’s covered and what isn’t to how deductibles and reimbursement work. Martin also dives into the different types of dental insurance plans (DPPO, DHMO, discount plans and fee-for-service) and explains the pros and cons of each. 

As Martin says, “Dental insurance is similar to health insurance in some ways like deductibles and coinsurance, but dental coverage has its own unique characteristics.”

If you’re not an industry professional, some of those unique characteristics might be tough to wrap your head around at first. This article serves as a great beginner’s guide to dental insurance, and even ends with a FAQ section full of follow-up information. 

If you have more questions about how to get connected – to coverage, customers, experts, or anything else – contact us today.

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Questions from ICHRA Webinar (10/05/2022)

Answers provided by Tom Crennen of ICHRA Systems

Q: How is ICHRA the same as small business group insurance and how is it different?

A: ICHRA’s are a true group health insurance plan from groups of one to any size. They are different in many ways as they allow employees to pick individual and family plans from their local area versus the limited choices normally associated with traditional group plans. They also have no minimum participation or contribution requirements.

Q: Is ICHRA a reimbursement? One of my clients has an offer but it seems it’s via reimbursement… it’s hard for an employee to front $400 and wait to get reimbursed.

A: They can be done either with reimbursement (where the employee pays and is then reimbursed) or the employer can pay the individual premium and the employee’s share is taken out of their payroll like in a traditional group plan.

Q: I am working with a prospective client – one owner and one employee – both of which are “employees” of a PEO so I can’t write a traditional group health plan… I am thinking this would be an option for them. Additionally, if this is an option, can the employer use this concept and the employee still qualify for APTC and/or CSR?

 A: Maybe. Owners can usually just write off the health insurance expense and use an ICHRA for the W-2 employee. (You should see your accountant about this, though.) If they are a C Corp, then both can use the ICHRA. If the company contribution for the employee is determined to be unaffordable, an employee can waive the ICHRA and get a tax credit plan on the exchange.

Q: It’s also my understanding that if an employer offers an ICHRA that the employee cannot qualify for subsidies, is that accurate?

 A: Again, maybe. If the employer’s contribution is determined to be low enough to make that option unaffordable for the employee, then they can go to the exchange and get a tax credit plan. It is anticipated that the “Family Glitch” be fixed in the near future so that if the ICHRA is affordable for the employee but unaffordable for the family, then the rest of the family will be able to get a tax credit plan on the exchange.

Q: To ensure I understand: Colorado has a reinsurance mechanism in the individual market that causes individual premiums for a given plan to be less than what the premium would be for the same plan in the group market?

 A: Generally, that is true, with some varying areas being much lower than others. The reinsurance “help” can vary by rating area but has been shown to result in lower premiums than similar group plans.

Q: How would the ICHRAs work for sole proprietors? Could they set up an ICHRA to have the business fund the premium and then they purchase coverage on or off the exchange? And if so, can the sole proprietor obtain APTC and/or CSR if they would otherwise qualify?

 A: It depends on the business structure of the sole proprietor. Many times, an individual owner can simply deduct the cost of (individual) healthcare as a business expense. They may qualify for a tax credit plan and CSR (again, see your accountant). ICHRAs are primarily used to help employees, and less for owners that may be able to simply deduct the whole medical insurance cost as a business expense. Generally speaking, the employee wants to purchase the individual policy directly and not through the exchange for the employee’s portion to be treated tax free. Tax credit exchange policies cannot be used in combination with an ICHRA.

Q: Can an employee purchase the individual plan through C4HC and receive an APTC and then still receive the employer contribution?

 A: Not legally.

Q: How’s the billing? One on behalf of all EE’s, carrier bundles, each individually, or reimburse EEs?

 A: Different ICHRA administrators do it differently. We prefer that the employer pays the individual plan directly to the carrier through EFT and the employee pays their share tax free through the payroll deduction and Section 125 plan.

Q: So, does the employer need a cafeteria plan to offer ICHRA?

 A: ICHRAs are a specific type of HRA, other cafeteria plans can be added alongside.

Q: Who are the good TPAs to administer ICHRAs?

 A: I’m partial to ICHRASystems.com for Colorado groups. There are lots of other ICHRA administrators, like NexBen, Take Command Health, Gravie, Tasc, Ameriflex, People Keep, Sterling Administrators, etc…

Q: What happens if an employer offering an ICHRA hires an employee mid-year that doesn’t currently have an individual plan and they are not eligible to apply for an individual plan until the next open enrollment, are there ramifications to the employer because of this?

 A: The ICHRA establishes a “SEP” (Special Enrollment Period) so new employees can get new individual policies when they are hired if they don’t have one already.

Q: It feels like one pit fall would be network/access to providers. ACA feels like it has a much leaner network vs. group – which leads to access where you might have to wait weeks for an appointment.

A: This can be a problem as all of the Colorado individual plans (with a minor exception of a very limited Anthem PPO) have smaller doctor networks than the larger (and more expensive) group PPOs. This is somewhat offset in that employees in Colorado have many individual plan choices where they can probably find their doctor. Some may want Kaiser or Friday or Cigna individual plans which can usually offset the PPO issue. Employees in different areas pick from local plans in their area, helping to offset the multi-state issue. Right now, in Colorado, Friday Health is the only individual plan that allows for students in other states.

Q: Can ICHRA employees receive a subsidy on exchange? Are they eligible to go on exchange?

 A: Please see answers four and seven. It’s all about affordability, but employees can choose either an ICHRA or a tax credit plan. The two can’t be used at the same time.

Q: I’ve heard about an annual ACA reconciliation, or something like that – and that this can be overwhelming administratively if there are many employees across many ZIP codes. How would that work?

 A: Members who get tax credits to have to reconcile the tax credits when they file taxes. Employers who offer ICHRAs do have certain reporting requirements like PCORI fees and 1095-B or 1095-C forms.

Q: How are mid-year hires handled? Without a qualifying SEP, wouldn’t they have to wait until 1/1 to start?

A: No, they can be added mid-year. See answer to question 11.

Q: I’m not clear on the exchange rules. They can have an ICHRA as long as they are not receiving a tax credit on the exchange?

 A: My understanding is that this is true, but plans purchased through the exchange require that the employee’s share of the plan be paid for with taxable money. Buying off the exchange can result in the employee’s cost for the plan being treated tax free when a Section 125 plan is used. If an employer pays 100% of the plan cost, and the member doesn’t get a tax credit, it would be OK to buy the plans on the exchange.

Q: How do you factor in the affordability aspects for groups 50+?

A: Affordability is different for ICHRAs than traditional small groups, but generally it is determined by finding the cost for the lowest priced Silver Plan on the local state exchange (for that employee) less the applicable employer only contribution and determining that if the cost is less than the employee’s (and family’s) annual gross income divided by 12 times 9.12% for 2023.

Q: What’s the status on fixing the “Family Glitch”?

 A: Rumor has it that it should be “fixed” by the end of October.

Q: Who is the broker on the account? The TPA or the broker?

A: It depends on the ICHRA administrator. For ICHRASystems.com, the broker typically has AOR. For other ICHRA administrators, they may keep the AOR and share a percentage of revenue with the agent.

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‘I Can’t Retire – I Need Health Insurance’ According to klipinger.com – Our Take

Kiplinger’s T. Eric Reich recently published an article on how health insurance is generally seen as a huge hurdle for retirees. Reich proposes that finding affordable coverage could be simpler than you might think. 

While there are of course lots of reasons that people might not retire, from a lack of income to a lack of identity outside of their role as an employee, one of the more popular reasons is the fear of losing health insurance. 

Medicare doesn’t allow people to take advantage of its services until age 65, meaning that people who might want to retire early generally wait a few extra years instead of jumping through a series of imagined hoops to maintain coverage. But, Reich, argues – it might not have to be this difficult. 

He elaborates, “For clients who retire before 65, most of the money they live off first could be money in their checking/savings accounts or non-IRA money… If this is the case, when applying for health insurance, your low income could cause your premiums to be much lower than you anticipated.”

Does this mean early retirement might be more realistic for more people? Well, as Reich says, “This is not an endorsement for the ACA but a way to provide options and clarity on a topic that can be uncomfortably confusing.” 

Read the rest of the article for specifics on how Obamacare offers options that could potentially help you retire earlier than expected. 

For more insights and information – applicable to the health insurance industry and beyond – check out our latest blog posts or contact us to learn how Help On Demand’s technology can impact your business’ bottom line and remove barriers for your customer base.

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Risks of Using Outdated Technology

Crashes, increased costs, holes in your security, regulatory risks… the list goes on. Outdated technology is problematic in a sense that goes beyond the annoyance of the ever-present spinning rainbow ball.

When occasional frustration turns into a  functional problem, that’s when you know it’s time to upgrade. Because, sure, nobody has time to wait for that video to buffer – but cybersecurity risks and financial repercussions are obviously more damaging to your company in the long run than a few minutes lost waiting for a page to load. 

Let’s talk about the most common issue first – crashes. 

In today’s our Zoom-addicted business world, it might feel like something is “off” when you make it through a full week of meetings with no technical difficulties. We’re so used to various systems being down that it almost seems inevitable that someone’s camera won’t work, you’ll have to call into the meeting, or your Google Calendar will totally forget to remind you about that call you were supposed to make. 

But in the “on-demand” culture that we’ve built for ourselves, a crash that results in any significant amount of downtime can and will encourage customers to take their business somewhere else. While your bottom line is always a concern, lost time and trust are much more valuable things to lose – and a shoddy website prone to problems is a quick way to get there. 

Of course, cost is always a factor. 

It might seem like a major investment to overhaul your technology, but it can actually be more expensive to maintain outdated systems. In fact, a 2016 survey found that U.S. businesses lose up to $1.8 billion each year in wasted productivity due to obsolete technology.

Before you know it, you’ve created a bottleneck where your employees don’t have the tools they need to help your customers – a scenario where nobody is the winner. 

The other major concern associated with outdated technology is security. As of this year, enterprises experience 130 security breaches per year, per organization, on average. 

What’s the takeaway here? 

More likely than not, it’s time to updated your system. If you’re ready to take advantage of fast, cutting-edge technology like Help On Demand’s system, request a demo and take the first step towards creating a customized technology solution that works for you and your company.

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What the Inflation Reduction Act means for health care coverage – Our Take 

For more than a decade, we’ve been dealing with the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, more commonly known as Obamacare. There are good elements of the act, bad elements of the act, and a thousand different ways to look at the problem that is health care coverage and its accessibility – and just as many proposed solutions. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allows those currently enrolled in the ACA to keep their coverage, for now at least. Steven Findlay, Opinion Contributor for The Hill, talks more on this in a recent article

Here are a few of our main takeaways: 

The economic and political upheaval that was largely triggered by the pandemic has reach – and health care coverage is just the latest thing to be touched by the aftershocks. 

Something you might not immediately register as “relevant” when it comes to health care-related issues of today, however, is actually a huge factor in the stability of a variety of socioeconomic systems – including public health – is climate change. 

Intense storms and heatwaves that have the potential to disrupt entire neighborhoods and communities coupled with a massive upheaval in opioid addiction, gun violence, and rising tensions and potential dangers related to reproductive care mean that access to reliable health insurance becomes more important for everyone. 

According to Findlay, “Both parties also need to rally around a cause they already agree on: tackling ever-rising health care costs.” 

Want to know more about how political change, social pressure, job stability, economic demographics and more play affect the health care industry? Read the rest of the article here.

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What ‘Meet Your Customers Where They Are’ Really Means In Insurance

Michael Jackowski, Forbes Council Member, recently published an article detailing how personalized digital experiences were becoming the norm in terms of what consumers expect from mobile and web interactions with the insurance market. You can read the full thing here, but we thought we’d give you our two cents. 

The main point the article seems to be making is simple: “Let your technology partners be your champions”. Jackowski goes on to explain how technology helps companies and consumers – allowing insurance providers to meet customers where they are by focusing on personalization and engagement. 

This increased demand a focus on communication – even in an industry that is becoming more and more digitally-driven – proves the importance of fast connections with the right people. 

Not only do customers know what they want, they know what they need – and those needs are different for each individual consumer. For insurers to effectively fix problems for the people they work to serve, they need to be listening.

According to a worldwide survey from Bain & Company, of nearly 175,000 insurance customers, value, quality and ease of use are highly important factors when it comes to lasting loyalty. And in an increasingly digitized marketplace, the ability to harness technology to deliver an online customer experience that makes customers feel as secure as they would after shaking their brokers hand is invaluable. 

The good news for you is that there is ample space to do this. The truth is, most insurance companies can’t consistently deliver the kind high-level customer experience that has become expected. Most customers (especially millennials that are online natives) are more than ready to switch to providers that can readily meet their needs. 

Help On Demand uses Intelligent Lead Distribution to make sure that the right customer is contacted by the right broker, every time. From location to language, our algorithm looks at several key factors that will drastically increase the chances of a positive customer experience. 

Let us demonstrate how smart technology works better. Contact us today.

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What is ICHRA? 

And how will it affect you? 

An individual health coverage reimbursement agreement (ICHRA), an arrangement made possible by Trump administration regulations, gives employers of any size the opportunity to reimburse any premiums their employees might be paying for individually-purchased insurance. 

As of this year, it is estimated that up to 200,000 people currently receive ICHRA benefits. 

This is a big shakeup that gives employers looking to provide health insurance to their employees a new option. 

ICHRA’s reimbursement model is simpler than traditional group benefits packages for a few reasons. First of all, it allows the reimbursements to be tax-free. ICHRA also allows for higher limits and individually-tailored design and qualifications as opposed to traditional one-size-fits all group plans. This makes it appealing for lots of employers. 

So, how does an ICHRA plan work? 

First, business owners decide how much they’ll reimburse each month. Whether the rates are determined by socioeconomic status, family size, or a variety of other factors is up to the employer. Employees then individually determine which health plan works best for them. When qualified medical expenses arise, the employer submits receipts and them facilitates the reimbursement. 

ICHRA’s conception stems from unintended results of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that effectively stopped the practice of reimbursement. A bill signed by President Obama just before he left office created ICHRA’s predecessor – the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) – which allowed small employers who met a certain set of guidelines to reinstate the practice of reimbursing for individual insurance claims. 

Two years, later, new regulations were proposed that expanded the acceptability of these arrangements to include employers of any size. 

By 2034, it is estimated that between 10 and 50 million people could be covered by ICHRA. 

Can we definitively say it’s better than a traditional health insurance plan? 

It might be too soon. But from a bird’s eye view, things look relatively promising. 

There’s undoubtedly more cost-control for the employer, and the chance of an unforeseen group increase drops to zero. However, an ICHRA plan does tend to run employers about 10-20% more in expenses than traditional plans would. 

But for a lot of people, that slight increase is worth it if there’s less risk involved. 

Employers can spend less time worrying about managing their employee’s individual health risks and trying to find a group plan that works for everyone. And from an employee’s perspective, the ability to take a plan that they pick to their next job in the event of layoffs or a new job opportunity means one less thing to stress about. 

It will be interesting to see if this new arrangement takes off the way it is predicted to. 

If you have questions about ICHRA or other health insurance industry updates, make sure to stay updated on our blog.

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Is Your Lead Distribution Stuck in the Past?

Far too many businesses – across all industries – are STILL focused on product and pricing alone when it comes to winning new customers and retaining old ones. 

But in today’s fast-paced on-demand environment, the numbers paint a clear picture. In fact, just a one second delay can lead to more than a 15% drop in customer satisfaction and nearly 65% of customers expect interaction-based, individual, tailored engagements from knowledgable associates. 

All of this boils down to an invaluable concept: Intelligent Lead Distribution. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what this is, why it’s so important, and how it can increase your close ratio and ROI. 

Your salespeople can only be as successful as the selling tools you’re using allow them to be. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, sales professionals are having to totally shift from a pre-pandemic way of doing business to one that takes place in an entirely different landscape. 

Yes, the problems that your product or service solves for the customer are still important. And sure, a good salesperson that can intelligently speak to those features and benefits is still a plus. But more and more, it seems to matter less what you’re selling and more how you’re selling. 

If you aren’t attempting to reach customers how they want (or need) to be reached, you  won’t reach them at all. 

To make sure you’re doing all you can to stop missing out on lost opportunities, click here to register for our IntelliLead webinar– a chance to ensure that your company and sales team has the tools it needs to transform its bottom line.

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Why Connectivity Matters to Your Customers

It is no secret that technology has revolutionized the way that companies handle data, communicate with their consumers, and are ultimately perceived. To say it is the force behind modern business is not hyperbolic. For these reasons, a certain level of connectivity is vital for a modernized approach to customer experience.

Here at Help On Demand, we know how important this is – in fact, it’s a huge part of how we connect businesses to their end consumers.

User experience is key to business success. If potential clients or customers can’t be serviced when and where they like, they will find another option. We live in an age of around the clock, 24/7 service, where missed connections can be the breaking point for an otherwise prosperous business model, and not just a sad subsection of Craigslist.

This need for instantaneous results can seem like a huge hurdle to jump over, but in reality, it’s an opportunity.

Increasing the connectivity of your brand and business can help boost a wide range of KPIs like social capital and brand awareness, all while generating leads that can become genuine, long-lasting connections. In short, a focus on connectivity can drive your brand to a new level of success.

Because of this, businesses need to think outside the box when it comes to creative ways to connect with their customers and stay top-of-mind. Regardless of industry, workplace practices, and other factors, this remains true. Not to mention, the best experience (for both customers and employees) generally involves an open dialogue between consumer and provider.

As one of our customers said in a testimonial, “The idea of allowing insurance agents to work with marketplace consumers was a great opportunity. The technology, the simplicity of it, really helped us to facilitate that dialogue.”

Let’s use that customer experience as an example, and talk a little bit more about the insurance industry. When a consumer goes to the federal health insurance marketplace, healthcare.gov, they can easily get contact information for agents and brokers in their area simply by clicking the “Find Local Help” button. Those agents and brokers can then provide immediate assistance directly to the people in their ZIP codes that need it most. In 15 minutes or less, an agent will contact that consumer, help them enroll, and answer any other questions they may have.

If we expect this kind of customer experience when we buy a pair of shoes or order food online, why don’t we demand the same level of attentiveness when making the big decisions in life like how to protect ourselves with insurance, how to close a deal on that new house, or how to educate our children?

Everybody is an expert when it comes to something. Let us help your customers find you. Call us at 1-888-245-1922 or email us at info@nullhelpondemand.com for a quick chat about modernizing your approach.

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