Tracie Foster is one of the disability insurance industry executives who have been trying to think of what to say about the market during the 2016 Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) campaign.
Foster, director of life and disability product development at Anthem Inc. (NYSE:ANTM), says the large-group market looks about the same as it has in recent years.
“You have to be a bit more knowledgeable” about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Foster said during a recent DIAM interview.
On the small-group side, “The disability market is a little challenging,” she said.
PPACA is still distracting small and midsize employers, she said.
But Foster is seeing a little growth in interest in short-term disability (STD) insurance, and, even though she sees the disability market conditions as challenging, she sees them as less extremely challenging as conditions in the major medical market.
In the disability market, insurers and producers can still focus on struggling to put one foot in front of another, one heavy step at a time, without worrying about a whirlwind transporting them to another insurance planet.
For a look some of what Foster is seeing in the less-upheaval zone, read on.
1. She has not yet seen the private exchange channel take off.
Anthem has been a big player in both the PPACA public exchange system and many private health insurance exchange systems.
So far, exchanges seem to work better for major medical products, and better for dental insurance than for disability insurance or life insurance, Foster said.
In the disability market, she sees Anthem doing business with the same number and types of brokers and other distributors. Some have set up private exchanges, or are using other companies’ exchange systems, but she believes employers continue to rely heavily on traditional brick-and-mortar benefits advisors.