“Who’s at fault here? It’s not the broker. It’s not the insurance company either. It’s the plan sponsor who makes the system possible for what it is. They are in a position of power which most don’t understand they have. They should dominate the equation. A dominant fee based and experienced insurance advisor helps them do just that. “Me Too” fee based insurance advisors don’t. The later works for fees, the former works on principle.” – Bill Rusteberg
Behind the Scenes, Health Insurers Use Cash and Gifts to Sway Which Benefits Employers Choose
The insurance industry gives lucrative commissions and bonuses — from six-figure payouts to a chance to bat against Mariano Rivera — to the independent brokers who advise employers. Critics call the payments a “classic conflict of interest” that drive up costs.
The Confounding Way We Pay for Care
This story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog.
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, focuses 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.
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