Discover how The AGC Alternative can help your company build a better benefits package – one that benefits you and your employees.
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What is The AGC Alternative?
The AGC Alternative is a private insurance exchange that operates as an online “e-store” that AGC and Willis have stocked with health and other insurance benefits. It is private, standardized and available to most AGC companies looking for a better way to provide such benefits to employees.
What is the difference between a public and private exchange?
A public exchange is set up through the federal or state government or a combination of both and will generally only offer healthcare and dental insurance plans. Private exchanges, such as The AGC Alternative, are set up by health insurance companies or brokerage firms. All plans offered under the AGC Alternative meet or exceed the Affordable Care Act guidelines of Minimum Essential Coverages.
How does The AGC Alternative work? Powered by Liazon, The AGC Alternative helps employees easily select a benefits portfolio that meets their individual coverage needs. With robust, simple to use decision-support tools and educational materials, The AGC Alternative is there for employees year round.
How does The AGC Alternative differ from traditional health care programs that employers have long offered to the employees? The AGC Alternative enables AGC companies to change the way they provide health and other insurance benefits to their employees. Instead of making a traditional commitment to pay a certain percentage of current and future premiums for such benefits, AGC companies can simply commit to pay a flat dollar amount. Employees can then go to the exchange and use the employer’s contribution “and any amount they would like to contribute on their own“ to shop for and purchase the combination of health and other insurance benefits that fit their individual needs.
Will The AGC Alternative accommodate employees who want to spend more than their employers contribute? Will Willis Towers Watson help AGC companies set up payroll deduction plans? Each member company’s exchange can be configured to permit both the employer and its employees to make contributions. If the employer does not already have a Section 125 payroll deduction plan that would enable an employee to contribute pre-tax dollars, Willis Towers Watson can and will guide the employer through the process of setting up such a plan.
How will rates be determined? The carriers will underwrite the coverage for each company, and their standards and procedures will be the same ones that they normally apply and follow. The amount of data they request from a particular company, and exactly how they develop a premium for that company, will depend on several things, such as the company’s location, and the size of its workforce.
Why do the medical carriers require current and renewal rates to provide a quote?
In the 51-100 market segment, the request for current and renewal reates is a standard request. Your current agent or broker must provide this information in order to receive a proposal as well. It is possible that they may not communicate the need for this data during the process since they already have the information. For groups of this size, carriers do not have claims information to properly underwrite the group. This is why they request the information. Carriers use this information to help them properly understand the risk of the group. Your current carrier already understands the risk of your group and the renewal action they propose is reflective of that risk.
Will all of the AGC companies in the program have to adopt the same plan year (such as the calendar year), or will companies have the option of starting and renewing coverage on a date of their choosing? Companies will have the discretion to start and renew coverage on the first of any given month of the year.
What are the benefits of The AGC Alternative?
The AGC Alternative makes it much easier for AGC companies to budget the current cost of health and other insurance benefits, and much easier to control their future cost. The exchange also reduces the administrative burden of providing such benefits, gives employees more choice and flexibility, and facilitates compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
Will the AGC Alternative be less expensive for AGC companies than traditional health care programs? The AGC Alternative will likely to be less expensive for many AGC member companies because AGC of America will use its buying power to negotiate discounts on the premiums that the carriers would normally charge. Each company’s premium will be different, but across the board, all premiums will be discounted*.
What are the benefits for employees?
The AGC Alternative allows companies to give employees increased choice and flexibility in health care and other employee benefits. Our simple, retail-like shopping experience provides employees with robust decision support and education tools to help employees choose a benefits portfolio that meets their individual needs. The AGC Alternative offers employees up to six options for health care coverage, three dental plans, two vision plans, disability, life and a legal service coverage. Additionally, the program offers incentives for employees to work toward a healthier lifestyle.
Will The AGC Alternative be able to assist employees who can neither read nor speak English?
The AGC Alternative features a customer service line that any employee can call for assistance with the enrollment process. This assistance will be available to employees who do not have access to the Internet, and it will also be available in Spanish.
How many different health care plans will the AGC Alternative enable AGC companies to offer to their employees? The AGC Alternative features up to six options for health care coverage, three dental plans, two vision plans, disability, life and a legal service coverage. Companies will have the discretion of offering their employees all or only some of those options.
Will companies have a chance to see and review these plans before they request a quote for coverage? Yes. All of the health care coverage options will be available for companies to review before they request a quote for coverage.
Which medical carriers are participating in the program? Aetna (in some states) and Cigna (in all states) are currently quoting firms as part of the AGC Alternative program. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota is quoting firms in the states of Minnesota.
What if Cigna and/or Aetna are not competitive in your state? In states where Cigna and Aetna are not competitive, Willis Towers Watson will work with local or statewide carriers to determine the best fit. Ultimately, our goal is to provide quotes from top carriers in each market where there is interest from AGC member firms.
Is the AGC Alternative available in all states? Yes. The AGC Alternative is now available to firms with 20+ enrolled employees in all states. It is also available for employers with 10+ eligible employees in the following states: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Which companies will be eligible to sign up for The AGC Alternative? All AGC member companies in good standing with 10 or more employees are eligible to take advantage of The AGC Alternative. This includes general contractors, specialty contractors, and both suppliers and service providers.
The AGC Alternative is available to all member with 20+ enrolled employees in ALL states as well as members with 10+ employees in the following states: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
What will happen to an AGC company that signs up for The AGC Alternative but then drops its AGC membership? If a participating company decides, for whatever reason, to drop its membership in AGC, it will retain its exchange and the related plans for the remainder of its plan year, but the company will not be eligible to renew its coverage under The AGC Alternative for the following year. Participating companies must be AGC members in good standing at the time they sign up for the program and when they seek to renew.
How does my company request a quote for coverage?
What are the Carrier Quoting Requirements for The AGC Alternative?The first step in the AGC Alternative quoting process is to visit www.agc.org/exchange and complete a Quote Request form. Once you have completed and submitted this online form, you will receive an email from Willis Towers Watson requesting additional documentation. Providing Willis with all items on the list and ensuring they are complete will help ensure your quote is received in a timely fashion.
To review a list of required documents by firm size, please click here.
Once a company makes the decision to implement The AGC Alternative, then what?
Adopting The AGC Alternative for your business is a smart decision towards controlling benefits costs while expanding employee choice and coverage. And you won’t do it alone. You will have all the personal support you need from Willis. Liazon will also work with you both to make the transition to The AGC Alternative as easy and enjoyable as possible. Thousands of businesses just like yours have discovered a way to control costs while expanding employee choice and coverage. Liazon and Willis give you the tools and attention to make the transition a smooth one.
How will your company administer benefits with The AGC Alternative? The AGC Alternative acts as a year round benefits administration tool for employers. The AGC Alternative employer administrative portal allows you to:
Is The AGC Alternative web portal and administrative portal secure?Liazon, the technology company that powers The AGC Alternative, holds itself to the highest in data security standards. All access to their portal is secured via SSL with 128-bit encryption and have technology deployed to ensure OWASP compliance. All data at rest is fully encrypted. Even their email is delivered securely. We are always in complete compliance with all HIPAA and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data security requirements.
For additional information, please visit www.agc.org/exchange or contact The AGC Alternative Willis team at 1-800-210-5290.