Defined Contribution 'Unplugged' With Companion Life
No matter where you come out on the topic of Private Exchanges and Defined Contribution, you can't argue that they have been a major benefits theme since the passing of the ACA. And most of us agree that the definined contribution concept along with eased up carrier participation requirements in an online shopping environment is a win for all parties.
The employer wins because she can better budget for future benefit expenses and the employee is more satisfied because he has more options and can personalize his own benefit package. And of course the agent and carrier win when the employer and employees are happy.
But like all things, sometimes the idea does not actually conform with the reality. Private exchanges don't always leave all parties with a 'warm, fuzzy' feeling. Not all employees are comfortable with an online shopping experience and not all carriers can easily exist on an automated system.
This is where Companion Life comes in. They have recently introduced a defined contribution product that is system agnostic. It can exist on any system and accept an electronic census or feed but it can be used the old fashioned way, with benefit descriptions and paper apps.
As long as the employer is willing to give $25 per employee per month (PEPM), Companion will go down to one on any of the lines offered: Voluntary Life, STD, Dental or Vision. The Voluntary Life is $100,000 Guarantee Issue! The dental comes with a two year rate guarantee and you can offer it with or without ortho! The STD and vision are also two year rate guarantees.
Certain SIC codes are ineligible and the group has to have 10 or more employees. Finally, the group must agree to a defined contribution of at least $25 per employee per month. They can give more but this is the minimum.
This is a brand new concept and product from Companion and so far we have found that the members are all spending their employer dollars and then some.