New Eastbridge Study Finds Carriers May Need New Skills to Offer Voluntary Supplemental Medical Products

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (Sept. 10, 2003)�Medical costs are on the rise. And the cost of getting sick or injured today means a major financial outlay�even for those covered under job-related health insurance. Voluntary hospital indemnity, medical supplement, mini-medical, or medi-gap products are all designed to help employees cover these expenses. Historically, these types of products were not major sellers in the worksite market. But many�employers, employees, carriers, and producers alike�predict this may change.

Employers are finding it necessary to increase deductibles and co-pays as a means of managing medical insurance costs. Others are looking at changing their plan designed to control costs. “As this happens,” claims Bonnie Brazzell, vice president, Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc, “there are more opportunities to offer employees supplemental medical products as an alternative to ‘self-insuring’ the out-of-pocket expense risk.” Adding to this is increased employee interest in purchasing products that help them handle the high cost of medical care.

“Today, we see more carriers ‘dusting off’ their hospital indemnity plans and adding various enhancements,” according to Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. Others are developing new products that either fill in gaps left by medical plans or protect those not presently covered by a medical plan. “The attractiveness of a hospital indemnity/medical supplement plan makes it a high potential product from a sales standpoint,” says Lowerre.

But carriers need to move carefully and make sure they stay informed, flexible, and responsive. “The market will be fast changing,” says Brazzell, “and problems as well as opportunities will pop up fast. The winners will be those who can stay abreast of market changes, who can adjust their product to meet these changes, and who can do all of this quickly.”

“This is not a market in which you can design a product and expect to keep it more or less the same for a few years,” adds Lowerre. Product changes will need to be made often and rapidly. “So if your product development process isn’t fast enough, fix it before you enter the market.”

Eastbridge’s Voluntary Supplemental Medical and Hospital Indemnity Plans spotlight report is available for sale for just $2,000. For more information, contact Eastbridge at [email protected]

Eastbridge Consulting Group is the premier consulting firm in the area of worksite marketing.