Avenue H, Utah’s health insurance marketplace, which connects small businesses and their employers to health insurance, reported more than doubling its enrollment numbers since 2012.
As of March of this year, 12,879 total lives are covered for health insurance through 612 enrolled Utah businesses, in comparison to 5,911 total lives covered through 247 enrolled businesses in 2012.
“We’re very pleased with the growth of Avenue H,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) “Utah’s consumer-oriented solution to healthcare coverage is based on free-market ideals, and it’s one of the most successful state-run small business health insurance programs in the nation. In fact, because we did it right, Avenue H is one of only 14 state programs in the U.S. and serves as a model for other states that are investigating state-run health insurance solutions.”
Utah businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible to enroll and contribute a fixed amount toward employees’ health insurance coverage. Employees then select a plan and may buy up or down, based on their needs. It’s a one-stop shop for medical, dental and health savings account options.
“Our message, that Avenue H offers Utah’s small businesses a way to control costs and at the same time, offer expanded health insurance options for their employees, is really resonating with the business community,” said Patty Conner, director of Avenue H. “And, employees are happily finding that Avenue H offers multiple plans, insurance companies and provider networks for their families.”
Conner reported on the results of a recent market research survey conducted by Cicero Group, which showed Utah employers have a generally positive attitude of Avenue H and its association with the State of Utah as a state-run healthcare marketplace. And, health insurance brokers have caught on to the benefits of Avenue H for their customers and themselves. The survey also showed that insurance brokers play a key role in businesses’ and consumers’ decision-making process, which is why Avenue H has simplified its online registration and enrollment for employers and brokers, so the whole process can be done in minutes.
“In today’s world of the Affordable Care Act, where so many employers are trying to offer the most cost-efficient plans to their employees and still stay within the guidelines…Avenue H offers a lot of flexibility,” said Scott Miller, co-founder and director of the health insurance division for Miller and Wade Insurance Agency. “Businesses who qualify also have the ability to take advantage of a small business tax credit. And, for brokers like me, the compensation I receive with Avenue H is the same as going directly with the carriers.”
Avenue H partners with insurance carriers including Arches Health Plan, United Healthcare and Select Health.