Guardian to exit health insurance market, sell business to United Healthcare
Group insurance benefits experts have long used Guardian for their clients’ dental, vision, disability and life insurance needs. Guardian never became a heavy hitter in the group medical insurance arena as shown by the comparatively small number of employees covered by their group plans.
It is a good move by UnitedHealthcare to acquire these groups. But since this change in carriers is being thrust upon these groups, it would be wise for them to look at other carriers and not assume that they will be getting the best plan for their group with this transition.
Here is the original report:
Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America is exiting the group medical insurance market and has reached an agreement with UnitedHealthcare to renew coverage for Guardian clients. In a memo to brokers prepared in a question-and-answer format, New York-based Guardian said “its modest medical market share and its use of rental networks significantly hampered its ability to compete in the group medical sector that has frequently favored large national medical carriers.”
As a result, “Guardian has determined that continuing in the medical insurance business is no longer a strategic fit,” the memo said.
Guardian Life will withdraw its medical insurance product line in all states, and will wind down its existing business over the next two years. The decision was announced in a Jan. 25 e-mail to brokers from Scott Dolfi, Guardian’s E.V.P. of Business Operations.
The carrier will drop its group medical plans, both self-funded and fully insured, as well as its prescription drug plans and individual medical coverage. The move will not impact Guardian’s non-medical product lines, according to Dolfi. These include dental, disability, life, critical illness, voluntary worksite, retirement plans and individual life and disability offerings.
As part of the transition, Guardian is working with UnitedHealthcare to provide comparable health care plans for clients. UnitedHealthcare has entered into an agreement to renew medical insurance coverage for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s medical plan customers and will broaden choice and access to care for Guardian medical customers through one of the largest local and national networks in the country, highly integrated clinical programs and a full range of affordable products.
The following is a quick overview of what Guardian individual and group clients can expect:
- As Guardian’s medical customers reach their renewal dates, dedicated UnitedHealthcare sales representatives will work to enroll these customers in a comparable UnitedHealthcare plan.
- Guardian medical customers are also welcome to transition to a new medical plan with UnitedHealthcare ahead of their renewal date.
- Until members are enrolled in a medical replacement plan with UnitedHealthcare or Guardian’s withdrawal becomes effective, their current benefits remain in effect under their existing contract with Guardian.
- During this process, it is business as usual. Guardian is committed to ensuring continued service, medical coverage and payments for its customers during the transition period.
Guardian intends to continue to offer other benefit coverages, including dental, life, disability and vision care. Guardian’s group health care business primarily comprises small and midsize employers, and most of the plans it offers are preferred provider organizations, the Guardian spokesman said.