Avenue H Opens New Online Enrollment Portal

Pete CodellaNews

Utah’s small businesses can now join Avenue H through its new online registration and enrollment tool. Avenue H is an insurance marketplace created by the State of Utah that meets the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards, but allows small Utah companies with one to fifty employees to purchase health insurance from Utah-based insurance companies. As Governor Herbert noted when the marketplace was created, “It provides Utah companies a Utah solution for their health insurance needs.”

By filling out a short form on AvenueH.com, employers can get a quote for their company’s 2014 health insurance rates and buy coverage online. Registration is simple and takes only a few minutes.

“AvenueH.com’s new consumer enrollment tool is an evolution of the way we have been helping small businesses offer insurance benefits to their employees,” said Patty Conner, director of Avenue H. “Utah’s small business owners can now register their employer group online and get their employees insured in less than 30 days.”

Avenue H is the state’s small business health insurance marketplace, and it has been successfully enrolling groups for several years. Through an agreement with federal health officials, Avenue H meets all the requirements of the ACA law, but is controlled by the State of Utah and not federal officials.

On Avenue H, employers are able to give their employees an affordable flat dollar amount for their health insurance. Employees then take those funds and shop for insurance on AvenueH.com. They can choose coverage that fits their needs from among 70 plans offered by Arches Health Plan, SelectHealth and UnitedHealthcare. If the coverage they choose costs less than their employer’s contribution, employees can roll the excess into a health savings account, which is a bank account used specifically for health needs. New for 2014, employers can also offer dental coverage from one of seven dental carriers.

Employers still have the option of working with their broker — just as they always have — but now they have a second option for joining Avenue H. “We wanted to give employers a choice in how they join Avenue H,” said Conner. “Signing up online is convenient and quick, but most employers don’t have the time to learn all there is to know about insurance. Brokers, on the other hand, are insurance experts who can answer complicated questions, but they have other clients to assist too.” The new registration and enrollment system lets employers choose which method they prefer.

AvenueH.com has a search tool for those who choose to work with a broker. This tool searches for brokers in the area who are authorized to quote business on Avenue H. These brokers have received training on Avenue H’s processes and will ensure a smooth and accurate enrollment experience. “We have been involved in the world of employee benefits for over 25 years,” said Scott Miller, president and COO of the MillerWade Group. “We believe that Avenue H offers an excellent solution to our small business clients. Specifically, it offers three important elements to our clients: 1) flexibility and choice to employers and employees; 2) a defined contribution model for employers; and 3) small business tax credits to qualifying employers.”

“Working with MillerWade, our broker, made the whole process easy,” said Emily Ensign, AP/HR specialist for Heirloom Restaurant Group. “They guided us through the process and any questions we had were answered quickly. It was nice to have the personal touch.”

Utah small business owners can expect a far different experience enrolling in health insurance on Avenue H than individuals did trying to access Healthcare.gov in October. Avenue H has been operating since 2010 after a yearlong beta testing period and has been consistently reviewed and refined since then. The new registration and enrollment platform is the latest improvement to the system.