The pitches to the health insurance brokers are tantalizing.
“Set sail for Bermuda,” says insurance giant Cigna, offering top-selling brokers five days at one of the island’s luxury resorts.
Health Net of California’s pitch is not subtle: A smiling woman in a business suit rides a giant $100 bill like it’s a surfboard. “Sell more, enroll more, get paid more!” In some cases, its ad says, a broker can “power up” the bonus to $150,000 per employer group.
Not to be outdone, New York’s EmblemHealth promises top-selling brokers “the chance of a lifetime”: going to bat against the retired legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera. In another offer, the company, which bills itself as the state’s largest nonprofit plan, focus on cash: “The more subscribers you enroll … the bigger the payout.” Bonuses, it says, top out at $100,000 per group, and “there’s no limit to the number of bonuses you can earn.
Such incentives sound like typical business tactics until you understand who ends up paying for them: the employers who sign up with the insurers — and, of course, their employees.
Human resource directors often rely on independent health insurance brokers to guide them through the thicket of costly and confusing benefit options offered by insurance companies. But what many don’t fully realize is how the health insurance industry steers the process through lucrative financial incentives and commissions. Those enticements, critics say, don’t reward brokers for finding their clients the most cost-effective options.
Read the full article here → Behind the Scenes, Health Insurers Use Cash and Gifts to Sway Which Benefits Employers Choose