Booncast Episode 6: Introducing Boundless Benefits! Dependent Benefits for the Working American Family
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Hello and welcome to Booncast, a podcast where we discuss evolving healthcare needs and flexible employee benefit solutions. Join our experts for unique insight into the niche market of fringe administration, solutions to address the needs of the American employer and the hourly worker, compliance concerns, and updates on developing topics in the industry.
Caitlin Kennedy with Booncast: Welcome back to Booncast. Today’s guest host is Patrick Hagan, Boon’s Chief Strategy Officer. We’re very excited to have Patrick here today to introduce Boon’s latest innovation, Boundless Benefits, a first of its kind, dependent only coverage solution. Patrick, thank you so much for sitting down with us.
Patrick Hagan: Thanks so much for having me. I am excited about participating in this today.
Caitlin Kennedy: We’re happy to have you here. So you are here today to introduce the Booncast listeners to an all-new kind of product, the Boundless Benefits Plan. Can you summarize briefly what Boundless Benefits is?
Patrick Hagan: So briefly, it is an opportunity for an employee. And kind of my background here at Boon (Chief Strategy Officer now) but 27ish years ago I started out working for the Boon Group in the claims department. And it’s always been my philosophy that when people are looking at benefits, they’re thinking about things that they want covered, protection that they want for themselves.
But then again, as a father, I think about my kids. And I, you know, where and what, and if I had the need for some limited benefits, would they be paid? How is it going to be processed? What does that look like? And so coming from that claims department strategy, people want to participate in a benefit program, but they really don’t pay much attention to it until such time that they need to access those benefits. And by that time, they really need to have a good understanding, a good confidence, of what they have and what it will and will not cover.
Caitlin Kennedy: I love that introduction. This is not a typical benefits solution. This is, in fact, I understand a first of its kind offering. And I appreciate you bringing that human element to this because, you know, benefits — it can get so technical. But you’re really touching on the heart of the product. My question for you is what gap in the market is Boundless Benefits addressing?
Patrick Hagan: So we all work very hard for a paycheck. For providing for our families. We all work to that goal of making sure that ourselves and our loved ones are taken care of. And, kind of as we’ve all said here at Boon, why shouldn’t that extend to our healthcare benefits to our family? So we may not have the opportunity, or we don’t have the money to enroll our dependents in full major medical coverage. This is a solution. And it’s very dependent-heavy. It’s almost all dependent only and it’s a new first of its kind solution for family care.
And so the gap in the market that Boundless Benefits is filling, is addressing, is that we all work very hard for our families to provide the most we can both monetarily and to our benefit needs. And why shouldn’t we extend that to our healthcare benefits. For the most part, as a dad of two kids that are reasonably healthy, but have had the need for for limited coverage. This is a solution that’s allowable and offered through this balanced benefits plan. It’s a dependent only product, it’s very heavily enhanced towards the coverage on the dependents. And that’s what gap it’s filling.
I may have coverage through my employer, through an employee-only plan and it’s major medical insurance and I either can’t afford or I don’t have the means to extend that to my dependents. And this is a well rounded, complete benefit plan that allows for the day to day, what’s going on in most people’s lives. Certainly not major medical insurance but it handles the one-offs. So that’s why we find this so unique and such a good fit for this time and for this offering.
Caitlin Kennedy: So in the business-to-business space, a unique feature of Boundless Benefits is that the dependents are eligible regardless of if the employee is being covered by the employer. Can you speak a little more to that?
Patrick Hagan: Right. So if the employee is either being covered as employee only (and that’s all that they can afford). Or they are not even taking the employer plan that’s offered to them, but they want a solution, a source of coverage, for dependent healthcare, because putting them on their major medical or even participating in major medical isn’t an option. Because of basically, because they don’t have the access to it because of affordability. This plan offers this offering, as dependent on the benefits for the benefits that you need for your one-off office visits, a little bit of lab work, X-rays, some hospital coverage, and all of that is centered around the dependents.
There’s a small (very small) employee benefit that’s a daily in-patient hospital benefit, that would not conflict with major medical coverage. It would not coordinate and it would not affect that major medical coverage. However, we do need that element so that we can link the coverage to the employee participating in an employer group plan. So that’s the need to have that one minor benefit, that’s the employee only going to fit. And again, it’s a daily in-patient hospital benefit. And it’s minimal by design so that it links this coverage to the employee, makes it a group health care plan that they can participate in. But then it’s not of a nature that anyone would need to coordinate benefits with that employee’s major medical plan. And if they don’t have the major medical, then it’s a benefit there as well.
Caitlin Kennedy: So it has a very practical purpose. In what ways do you see Boundless Benefits creating an advantage and a benefit in the world of employee benefits, overall?
Patrick Hagan: For me, personally, as a dad, as a person who’s only worked in benefits since they got out of college, we all need access. That’s something that is driving most people’s barriers to care. And this plan has a provider network, affiliation with a provider network, and that provider network (that PPO network) gives you the opportunity to make an appointment with a provider. And when they say, “Who’s your coverage through? ,” and we explained who the coverage is through, and we go ahead and let them know, the PPO network that it’s affiliated with, that’s something that’s acceptable at the healthcare providers’ office.
So they’re able to make an appointment, you can be seen, and on the backside, they can verify your coverage, and know that you have these benefits through the Boundless Benefits offer. Another thing is there’s unlimited access to telephonic virtual care. So as it always comes, your child gets sick at two o’clock in the morning with an earache and you really don’t know what to do. You want to try and comfort them. You want to make that educated decision of, “Should I?” you know, “Is this more than just a simple earache? Do I need to go ahead and proceed to an urgent care center and perhaps make an appointment with my doctor tomorrow morning?”
You can get on the phone and you can talk to a professional, a licensed professional in your state, and talk through the symptoms, talk through what’s going on. There’s the opportunity to video chat, in many situations, like a pediatric situation where maybe the baby, the infant, your child, your dependent, doesn’t have the ability to tell what’s going on, but if they can see and they can see they’re, you know, lethargic, or they’re really, really in a lot of pain. They can make that decision from an educated standpoint, and not from that of a parent. Which, you know, no one wants to see their child in any pain, but they’re like, “Hey, you know, swaddle them. See if you can make it through the night. We don’t have a lot of temperature, their color looks good. And go ahead and see the pediatrician in the morning.”
It also is a first dollar coverage. So that coverage means you don’t have a deductible, the plan pays on the first dollar. And that’s always helpful because you don’t want to make that decision based on finances. But, let’s be real, that does enter into a lot of people’s minds when they’re setting out to seek care. There’s lab work, there’s X-rays; that is covered under the plan. Some limited hospital insurance is covered under the plan. So if you do get to that place, again, it’s more about the access and being able to be seen and make appointments and have that affiliation with that network. Which is going to provide you, you know, open up those barriers to care. The last thing I’ll mention is that most of the time, you may be resolving whatever’s going on with a prescription. And this plan has a prescription drug card through CVS. And so that means you can go and have that real time access to have a prescription filled, determine your co-pay. The plan has a generous first dollar coverage towards prescription and is generally going to cover any kind of generic you might need.
Caitlin Kennedy: So, as you said earlier, you’ve been working in the benefits industry for a really, really long time. In your opinion, what industries are a good fit for this new offering?
Patrick Hagan: So, you know, we don’t want to pigeonhole anyone. But, we see this for restaurants, retail, casual dining, those tipped employees that may not have a fixed paycheck, where they’re able to take a deduction. So this is an affordable way that’s predictable. They know if they’re participating in the employer paid, they know that it’s no cost to them. If they’re participating with a partial deduction, or a deduction as a voluntary benefit, they know how much that’s going to cost.
We see it being a great solution for those working in services, for those working in construction, manufacturing, the transportation arena, real estate, fitness (your spin cycle, your yoga), those types of positions where you don’t have the access to. Indeed, have them either participate in your major medical plan or you don’t have…it’s not affordable. You can’t afford that because you don’t have a consistent income that you can always depend on to offset that payroll deduction, if any.
We see it for staffing, for security, for custodial/janitorial type positions, car dealerships, those working in the valet lines, working in the back of the car dealership (on the service side of it), school districts, hospitals, healthcare industry. We see that as a huge fix there where they either don’t have the option or don’t have the means to support a major medical payroll deduction.
Caitlin Kennedy: So I’d say that runs the gamut.
Patrick Hagan: It really does.
Caitlin Kennedy: You know, Patrick, you have… you’ve spoken so much over this conversation to your experience as a father and really connecting those anxieties as a parent and day to day family decisions as being something that is tied so intimately to Boundless Benefits. Is it fair to say that this plan was designed with the working American family in mind?
Patrick Hagan: Absolutely. And I would also… I don’t want to leave out spouses. There’s a lot of people that don’t have access for benefits for their spouse, and, you know, spouses are out there, and they’re 100% of the equation, when you’re looking for coverage for your family. You you want to make sure your kiddos are covered as well as your spouse. Perhaps the spouse has a position where they’re not offered group health insurance. And this, again, is another opportunity for them to have this coverage.
It is, you know, it’s what essentially most healthy Americans need. It’s, you know, a limited number of office visits at a set amount. You don’t pay a deductible. You pay any balance over the set amounts in the plan design. So it’s for your whole family. It’s really very, very robust, limited coverage for your family, your spouse, your children. And at the same time, it does have that one link to you because it needs to be a group health insurance plan. So that’s run through your employer, and therefore that’s why there’s that small benefit to link the employee to the coverage itself.
Caitlin Kennedy: It’s a really exciting development in coverage and thank you so much for sitting down and talking us through it today. Patrick, we are coming to the end of our time and so I like to close every Booncast episode on this essential question. In your own words, what value does Boon provide to its clients of all stripes?
Patrick Hagan: In this particular instance, it really strikes to the heart of what people want benefits for. they want coverage for their family. They want a peace of mind that they can get access to coverage. That they won’t meet any barriers to care. That this can get them an appointment with a new pediatrician, a new OB-GYN, a new foray where they have never had to go before, in getting simple health coverage is really what it comes down to. So that’s why this is so exciting to me.
Caitlin Kennedy: Yes, fantastic stuff. Patrick, thank you so, so much for joining us today.
Patrick Hagan: Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it, Caitlin.
That’s all for this episode of Booncast! Thank you for listening! Visit us on www.boongroup.com for more podcasts, blog posts, and information on Boon’s benefit offerings.