Executive Director’s Page

Finally, A Member-Owned Group Health Plan

United, through the support of its members, there is little that the State Bar of Texas can’t accomplish. That is the story of the Members Health Plan.

You have likely heard of the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, the online insurance marketplace for State Bar members, their employees, and their dependents that opened in November 2013. You have probably heard about the great advice and advocacy its counselors provide. You may even know about all the free enhancements you can access after enrolling in a major medical plan through the exchange. These enhancements are also available to those on Medicare.

That’s great, but I want to tell you what I have been hearing from some of you. I hear you want to leverage the buying power of a group plan for Texas attorneys—one that will help shelter our members from market disruptions.

In response, I am excited to introduce you to the Members Health Plan, a member-owned group health plan launched in May by Member Benefits Inc., the administrator of the exchange. The plan is listed as an option on the exchange and may provide attractive rates to some members, including solo practitioners with one additional full-time employee. As the program grows, we anticipate that solos—regardless if they have any employees—will be eligible to join the plan as well.

This plan is the culmination of years of effort and obstacles.

As president-elect in 2013-2014, I was proud to be part of the State Bar leadership team that launched the exchange. The exchange replaced a group model that couldn’t compete with plans on the market, as high premiums drove away healthy groups and caused the plan to go into a death spiral. Additionally, at that time solo practitioners were unable to participate in group programs.

The mission to enhance the insurance options for all Texas attorneys did not end there. It has been spearheaded through the dedication of the volunteer State Bar board members on the Insurance/Member Benefits Subcommittee. They deserve all the credit for the continuous expansion of the program that got us to where we are today.

Without the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, the Members Health Plan would never have been possible. It is the participation of so many members—16,000 individual enrollees and counting—that provided the support to allow the program to get started.

Unlike in the traditional insurance market, where profits go back to the insurance company and its shareholders, the potential surplus generated from the Members Health Plan goes back into the plan to enhance benefits and reduce costs for plan participants. With 13 newly available plan options, prescription benefits, a national PPO network, and more, the Members Health Plan has the potential to save your firm money and be a long-term solution to managing your healthcare expenses. Go to membershealthplan.com for more information or to request a quote.

Whether it is the Members Health Plan or free legal research through Casemaker and Fastcase or savings on a virtual assistant through LexHelper or guidance on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct through the Ethics Helpline or discounts on hotels and rental cars, the State Bar of Texas continues to find new ways to benefit our members and make their lives more enjoyable and their work more productive.


Trey Apffel
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
(512) 427-1500
@ApffelT on Twitter

Have a question for Trey? Email it to trey.apffel@texasbar.com and he may answer it in a future column.

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