The world of healthcare changed dramatically on March 23, 2010 with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it has yet to settle back into equilibrium. While the massive ACA did create some positive changes in the industry, it also raised many challenges, including increasing costs for small businesses. Medical premiums rose by 10 percent or more over the past year for ninety percent of banks responding to a recent survey of WBA's membership.
To help address this challenge, on Aug. 20, 2018 the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule permitting the creation of Association Health Plans (AHPs). Under Section 3(5) of ERISA, the DOL's rule updates the definition of "employer" to allow entities such as trade and professional associations to sponsor group health coverage. By joining together, the members of an AHP are better positioned to negotiate pricing and coverage options for their members.
After months of careful study and planning, WBA announced the availability of its own AHP on Oct. 1, 2018. "We know healthcare costs dictate many of the decisions businesses make today, including Wisconsin banks," WBA President/CEO Rose Oswald Poels said in a press release. "The new rule offers our association a powerful tool to help our members control their costs and provide top care for their own employees." The WBA AHP is available exclusively for WBA member banks to offer their employees. The resulting WBA AHP is offered through WBA Employee Benefits Corporation (EBC), a wholly owned WBA subsidiary which has been a trusted service provider for the industry for over 35 years.
WBA's AHP At-A-Glance
Access large-group purchasing power
Maximum flexibility from 28 competitively priced plan design options
Available through WBA Employment Benefits Corp. (EBC), a trusted service provider for over 60 years
Easy to switch
Minimal census data required to register, unlike in many other plans
Plans include both HSA and HRA options
Open to WBA member bank employees who are not Wisconsin residents
"WBA carefully and thoughtfully evaluated our options on behalf of our members before making the decision to launch this plan," Oswald Poels continued. "Our focus is finding the best solutions to the issues that keep them up at night." Those solutions can be found in the 28 different plan designs offered through WBA's AHP. This flexibility of options allows WBA member banks to craft a health insurance plan that fits their institution's specific employee benefit needs. In addition, WBA's AHP plans include both HSA and HRA options, allowing for further customization. The 28 available plans in WBA's AHP range from $500 deductible with co-pays to HDHP plans with a $5,000 deductible, and everything in between. Pharmacy and prescription coverage options are also available to help banks design the best possible benefits package for their employees.
To deliver its AHP, WBA partnered with a provider with one of the largest networks of doctors and care facilities in Wisconsin: UnitedHealthCare (UHC). UHC is also the nation's single largest proprietary network, reaching 98 percent of the U.S. population—more than 879,000 physicians and healthcare professionals at over 5,600 hospitals. UHC also offers a variety of convenient resources for WBA AHP members, including mobile, online, and person-to-person resources that help member banks make well-informed choices about their health care costs and needs.
UHC Testimonial: You Don't Have to Take Our Word for It!
"As Wisconsin Bankers Association looks to work with United Health Care as a partner to provide medical benefits to member banks, I wanted to share how happy our bank has been with the level of service and expertise we have experienced with UnitedHealthCare. As a self-insured plan we selected UMR as our third party administrator and could not be more satisfied with them. The tools offered through their website make administering our plan efficient and easy to do. We have been very happy with the timeliness and accuracy of their claims processing and know that we can rely on them to provide guidance and solutions when questions arise." – Glenn Parry, executive vice president - human resources, First National Bank and Trust Co., Beloit
WBA EBC looks forward to working with all WBA member banks to explore the ways WBA's new AHP will help them provide a valuable benefit to their employees.