Compass real estate agents are getting a chance at lower cost health care thanks to a new partnership between the New York-headquartered brokerage and human resources company IdilusHR.

Approximately 86 percent of Realtors in the United States are independent contractors, according to the National Association of Realtors, meaning that, in a land where employer-based health insurance reigns, most Realtors and agents are left to fend for themselves finding health care in the open market.

NAR also found that 14 percent of agents don’t have health insurance at all, and 57 percent found their coverage is too expensive, according to its 2018 member profile.

“When I speak to agents around the country, their number one concern is gaining access to fairly priced health care plans they can offer their families and their businesses,” Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, said in a release. “It is personally important to me that we find a way to deliver the best quality of life for our agents.

Reffkin added, “I believe it is wrong to prevent one of the largest groups of hard-working entrepreneurs the basic human right to care for themselves and their families.”

Compass agents will have access to insurance from Cigna, as well as dental, vision, payroll administration services, compliance and liability support and other human resources offerings.

The program will be immediately offered to Compass’ more than 7,000 agents across 13 states and Compass’ own research found that agents could save up to 62.8 percent versus other similarly structured plans offered in state or federal marketplaces.

How much agents will save, on average, in the states Compass operates versus similar state and federal plans. (Credit: Compass)

Some real estate brokerages and franchisors have similarly launched programs to help agents find cheaper insurance than the open marketplace, by leveraging group buying power. Keller Williams and RE/MAX both have partnerships to offer associates and brokerages additional health care options and earlier this year the Arizona-based HomeSmart announced it would be offering its 14,000 agents a comprehensive benefits package.

In June, the Trump administration issued a new reform that would allow real estate agents to band together to leverage group buying power – whether it be through a brokerage, or state or local trade association – to lower health insurance costs. NAR has applauded the move to allow association health plans (AHPs) but cautioned its members that a group health insurance plan through the association may be far in the future.

“There is much research to be done to determine whether NAR can find an insurer who is willing to partner with NAR to offer the quality coverage we would want to offer to NAR’s members,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg posted on Facebook. “NAR wants to caution our members that the development of an AHP will be a long process and may not meet the health insurance coverage needs of all members. We have already begun that work with experts in this field, so we are off to a running start.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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