GHLIT offering insurance exchange

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The AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust announced Feb. 12 that it will launch a private insurance exchange this spring to assist members of the AVMA and Student AVMA in purchasing major medical insurance coverage.

Previously, the GHLIT had announced that it will stop offering medical coverage at year’s end. The new private insurance exchange will be a way for current policyholders to transition to another major medical plan and for other AVMA and SAVMA members to find medical coverage.

The current GHLIT program guarantees coverage for applicants with pre-existing medical conditions. Policyholders who must transition to a new plan can rest assured that, as of 2014, federal health care reform will prohibit all insurers from denying coverage because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions.

The Trust will not be able to offer medical coverage after 2013 because the underwriter intends to discontinue underwriting major medical coverage for professional associations in light of impending federal health care regulations—and no other companies are willing to take over.

The GHLIT’s private insurance exchange will help AVMA and SAVMA members, at no cost, with identifying medical coverage from an insurance carrier that best suits their needs. The Trust and the Trust’s administrator, HealthPlan Services, are building the exchange on HPS’ existing Benefit Crossroads platform for purchasing insurance.

“Making sure our members have easy and secure access to the information, resources, and customer service they need to make informed insurance coverage decisions is our top priority,” said Dr. James H. Brandt, GHLIT chair. “Our new Web-based insurance exchange marketplace will enable our members to easily and conveniently review and compare medical insurance options and is an innovative solution to the challenges created by recent events impacting GHLIT medical coverage.”

The private exchange will roll out in two phases. The first, scheduled to go online in March, focuses on AVMA members who will be 65 or older by year’s end by helping them sort through Medicare options. The second phase, scheduled for late spring, will include insurance plans and resources for all other AVMA and SAVMA members.

The Benefit Crossroads team will be available to assist AVMA and SAVMA members and GHLIT insurance agents by preparing custom packages and providing ongoing support services via phone and the Internet.

Jeff Bak, HPS president and chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to partner with the AVMA GHLIT on this venture and look forward to the positive impact this exchange will have on the veterinarians’ and agents’ experience.”