Coalition of Eleven Book Industry Associations Launch Official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP)

Today, a coalition of eleven book industry associations, including Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), launched the official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP), an alliance with Lighthouse Insurance Group (LIG) Solutions designed to provide members from across the associations with a choice of health insurance options.

As of August 2020, official BIHIP coalition members include American Booksellers Association, American Society for Indexing, Authors Guild, Book Industry Study Group, Graphic Artists Guild, Horror Writers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, Novelists Inc., Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc., and Western Writers of America Inc.

BIHIP was established in April 2018 during a meeting of the Book Industry Study Group’s Association Advisory Council (BAAC), a gathering of various associations serving many parts of the book publishing industry. During this 2018 meeting, Kent Watson, then executive director of PubWest, proposed that BAAC evaluate the feasibility of providing healthcare coverage to the various associations’ members. BAAC chair, IBPA CEO Angela Bole, took on the challenge, gathering a group that at various times numbered more than 20 associations.

Given the complexity of the topic, the work was intricate and required a good deal of education about how healthcare works in the U.S. The work has been cooperative, with at-times weekly calls spread out over two years. Over this time, BIHIP collaborated to evaluate alternatives, seek out options and potential partners, and structure a final agreement that could provide members of BIHIP’s coalition with extensive knowledge of the health insurance market in order to help them navigate the wide array of insurance options. This includes ACA-compliant major medical, Medicare/supplements, short term policies, vision, dental, critical care, supplemental coverage, as well as small group/Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

Additionally, BIHIP worked diligently toward its goal of ensuring everyone could take advantage of the offering, including: association staff and their immediate family; individual members and their immediate family; business owners and their W2 employees; 1099-employees/independent contractors; and association volunteers.

On June 10, 2020,ten associations finalized the agreement with LIG Solutionswith a launch date planned for later in the summer. Since then, Romance Writers of America signed onto the coalition, bringing the number of associations served by BIHIP to eleven. BISG serves as principal point of contact on behalf of all for communications with LIG regarding the partnership.

Through this endeavor, BIHIP has demonstrated how cooperation can work across industry associations with significant differences in member profiles. Several BIHIP associations are made up of individual members, while others represent smaller companies. The health care options that make sense for individuals are not the same as those that make sense for companies with employees, but BIHIP’s partnership with LIG Solutions will serve both.

A key learning from the BIHIP process is that, as an industry, it is possible to tackle big problems and work collaboratively to solve them. This work can take time – in the case of BIHIP, 2+ years – and requires persistent leadership, particularly in the face of adversity and some unexpected turns. In addition, longer term change efforts must be guided by agreed upon principles, and those agreements need nurturing and regular reminders for those involved. All things BIHIP took the time to do for the betterment of the coalitions’ various memberships.

For more information, contact BIHIP’s principal point of contact Brian O’Leary atbrian@bisg.orgor reach all coalition members directly atbihip@ibpa-online.org.

About the Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP)
The Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP) is a coalition of eleven book industry associations officially launched in August 2020 with the goal of providing the various members of all twelve associations with a choice of health insurance options. As of August 2020, BIHIP members include American Booksellers Association, American Society for Indexing, Authors Guild, Book Industry Study Group, Graphic Artists Guild, Horror Writers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, Novelists Inc., Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc., and Western Writers of America Inc.

About LIG Solutions
LIG Solutions is a division ofLighthouse Insurance Group, an insurance advisor with experience in the health, life, and Medicare insurance industry. LIG Solutions offers insurance solutions for associations, societies, membership organizations, and other affinity groups. LIG Solutions helps people understand their health benefits and different plan options to determine the appropriate health insurance option. While health insurance agents typically only represent one carrier, LIG broadens consumers’ choices and can sell insurance from many insurance companies in all 50 states.

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