High-quality health insurance remains a top cost and concern for advisors and is seen as a driving factor behind smaller advisors’ inability to attract top-caliber talent to their teams, according to a recent media survey. Beyond the business risks, if an independent advisor cannot secure major medical healthcare insurance, it can leave their teams and families at high personal risk of uncovered medical emergencies.
But on March 1, we started a new program that is just what the doctor ordered for this industry-wide issue.
The launch of CoveredAdvisor healthcare, our new captive insurance company, makes medical plans available to independent advisors, registered staff members and their families. It provides high-quality, Affordable Care Act-compliant healthcare plans that cannot be found on the open market at savings up to 50 percent.
In the past, efforts to develop a substantive, cost-efficient and widely accessible healthcare insurance offering for independent advisors hit numerous roadblocks, explained Chris Paulitz, FSI’s Head of Strategic Initiatives.
“We launched this initiative with the express goal of offering something more meaningful and valuable than just another way to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan,” said Paulitz.
In the short time since CoveredAdvisor opened enrollment, nearly 650 people have chosen to take advantage of the new program. Interest among the broader FSI member community is also high, with over 25,000 unique visits to the CoveredAdvisor website and over 10,000 instant rate quotes run. The offering achieved these strong results even as 80 percent of advisors had recently renewed their healthcare plans during the past quarter.
“FSI is saving my family $24,000 a year in just our premium savings,” said an advisor who recently enrolled. Another advisor explained: “I have been waiting for years to have access to an affordable individual policy as an advisor for my family. These rates cannot be matched in the open market. I am also a health producer [and] the FSI plans are a no-brainer; we save 20 percent in premiums and reduced our out-of-pocket by 42 percent.”
There are over 130,000 financial advisors affiliated with FSI member firms, and about 30,000 FSI direct financial advisor members. And that is precisely why we were able to drive down costs and provide this level of service.
“The potential pool of participants enables us to offer our members the ability to enroll in our plans without the burden of forming a larger group on their own,” Paulitz said. “We offer financial advisors, registered staff and their families coverage at up to a 50 percent savings compared with the open market.”
CoveredAdvisor, which provides coverage and plans in all 50 states, is structured to be immune to the typical shifting political winds. As a captive insurance company, the self-insured plan provides members with significant stability – similar to the larger corporate plans that companies with employees across multiple states have used for years.
The plan is truly national in its scope, explained Paulitz.
“There is nothing out of network on our plans and you can go to any doctor,” he said. “Beyond providing significant value in the form of the highest quality healthcare, we wanted this to be easy for our members, so that they could spend their valuable time on their clients. The entire enrollment process takes 10 minutes to complete for nearly all potential participants.”
Plans are available at three deductible levels: $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000. These are also the plans’ out-of-pocket maximums. Two of the plans are health savings account (HSA)-eligible, and premiums are typically tax-deductible.
To be eligible for these programs, financial advisors and staff only need a federal tax ID, must maintain a current FSI membership and have a CRD number. Advisors and staff can learn more at the FSI CoveredAdvisor Healthcare website, where you can find frequently asked questions and answers as well as an online enrollment portal that provides personalized rates instantly to review and compare with their current plans.
“Over the past several years, the lack of an affordable, high-quality individual policy for my family has taken a financial toll,” said one happy FSI member advisor. “Financial advisors can be a skeptical group, but you should rest assured that this deal isn’t too good to be true.”
In addition to health insurance, the FSI CoveredAdvisor Benefits Program also provides advisors access to long-term disability and term life / AD&D at rates unavailable on the open market, along with staff-bundled plans of long- and short-term disability and term life. Over the past seven years, the FSI program has covered over 10,000 advisors. The launch of the captive insurance company grew out of the success of these other programs.
“While it’s still early in our rollout, we are confident in the value we are providing,” concluded Paulitz. “Our rates are dramatically lower for most advisors, while the quality of healthcare is far superior to similarly priced open market plans, and the process is so simple to complete.”