Collision Repairers Find Cost Savings & Quality Care with SCRS National Health Care Plan

Collision repair businesses had the opportunity to stop by the SCRS booth at the SEMA Show and learn about the health and retirement plans available from two organizations involved in setting up and managing the programs, Decisely and Gravie.

Following the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announcement in September that it implemented a national health care solution for members, Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg said the program has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the collision repair industry.

“Since launching the plan, we've been able to save companies within the collision repair space close to $650,000 in premiums,” said Schulenburg. “That’s the tip of the iceberg and doesn't account for the out-of-pocket expenses families can save.”

Schulenburg said the plan is saving companies up to 20% versus the renewals they are receiving from their current insurance providers. Additionally, he said the plan is unique in that it provides $0 deductibles, employee choice in their out-of-pocket maximum, and a list of no-cost services, such as primary care, urgent care, specialty care, labs and imaging, generic prescriptions and mental health care. He said most plans do not cover these services until an employee meets the deductible.

During the time when most employers go through open enrollment, collision repairers could stop by the SCRS booth at the SEMA Show and learn about the health and retirement plans available from two organizations involved in setting up and managing the programs, Decisely and Gravie. They included Decisely’s CEO and co-founder Kevin Dunn and SVP of Business Development Eric Frazer, and Abir Sen, co-founder and co-CEO of Gravie, the insurance carrier.

Schulenburg, Dunn and Frazer shared details about the program.

Why was the health care plan initiated?

Schulenburg: In 2018, the SCRS board began focusing on how we could best serve member requests around human resources and benefits programs. We found that health care was their biggest challenge. They said it costs a fortune, they get bad coverage they can't use, spend a ton of money, and feel they don't have better options.

We worked with Decisely, a firm specializing in benefits brokerage and HR services, and launched the SCRS 401(k) Multiple Employer Plan (MEP) first because it was easier to put together for members. Health care is a complicated area of the industry, so we relied on Decisely to help navigate the available options. We also engaged with Gravie, the plan provider, to learn more about their product Comfort™.

Our goal was to find a national program for SCRS members. We wanted it to reduce costs for employers and employees and improve the quality of care. We needed it to be something that gave our industry a distinct advantage to help recruit entrants. We didn't need to just compete with larger businesses in our own space; we needed to compete with industries offering more competitive benefit plans.

Why did you team up with Decisely and Gravie?

Schulenburg: Decisely was the right partner because it was as important for them as it was for us to find the best plan for the industry.

Gravie’s cofounders also made it clear how important it was to change how people interact with health care. We found they could offer a sustainable plan and deliver average savings between 10 to 15% versus members’ existing plans.

Gravie’s plan utilizes the Aetna and Cigna PPO networks, which most people are familiar with. The result is a familiar experience without the familiar costs and obstacles.

We’ve worked closely with both companies and have been impressed with the importance they have placed on touching base with the industry and ensuring members understand the plan.

What did you want the plan to include?

Frazer: In 2018, association health plans were a common topic in national news. Regardless of the political climate and the winds of change in regulatory agencies and state insurance organizations, we wanted to find a plan that could rival large corporate buying power. We’re happy we found a solution.

Dunn: Small businesses feel the brunt of high premium costs. Because they often have a small number of employees, they are underwritten with a high premium. It’s unfair that they are not part of a scaled product. That’s what Decisely was able to offer.

We sourced health care like large corporations such as Delta Airlines or FedEx because the collision repair industry is part of an amalgamation of a group of like-minded people. We wanted a plan that could help attract people to join the industry and retain them. We’ve found that an employee will stay at a company three and a half times longer if there is a benefits plan.

What makes the program unique?

Frazer: When basic needs such as primary and specialist care, labs and generic prescriptions are covered at no cost, this meets 88% of health care needs for most people. That’s a 180-degree difference from other programs.

Dunn: With traditional plans, you pay a $50-$200 co-pay as part of your premium. The SCRS plan eliminates those costs, so there is no copay, whether that’s for a doctor’s appointment, an MRI or prescription.

Schulenburg: By offering an affordable insurance plan with no co-pay, you get a healthier population with people who take their prescription drugs and go to the doctor.

This program is about giving health care solutions that people can use today. One of our early adopters employs a technician whose wife is pregnant. When the couple compared their existing plan to this new one, they found they would save $6,000 in out-of-pocket expenses on the birth of their child. That's a meaningful difference.

Who is eligible to join?

Schulenburg: Anybody in the collision repair industry can shop the plan and learn about its benefits. Those who choose to participate must be SCRS members.

Why should employers evaluate the plan?

Schulenburg: We encourage all employers, whether they already have a plan, to look at the available options and get a free quote. Imagine if you could leverage a 10% or 15% savings. That is a substantial amount of money that could be reinvested into your business and/or employees.

Dunn: It's a challenging environment with inflationary concerns and high costs. This plan is great for employers to save on premiums and put money back into employees’ pockets. If you can save a family $6,000, the employee will remember that and be a cheerleader for the company.

With the savings, many employers are taking part of that money and investing it in other plans, such as vision, dental and setting up a life insurance policy.

Frazer: If you want a different result, you must do something different. Gravie’s program SCRS has secured for members is already showing results.

While the plan can help larger SCRS members, it also helps level up the playing field for small- and medium-sized members so they can compete, recruit and retain like a Fortune 500 company.

Schulenburg: There are things that SCRS does that are important as an association and there are things that we can do that really make a difference in people's lives. This plan can change a lot of people's lives.

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Stacey Phillips Ronak

Stacey Phillips Ronak is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry and a regular columnist for Autobody News based in Southern California.

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