USMSS, the largest association of Motorola Solutions service partners, will research the possibility of establishing a self-insurance group in an effort to help its members lower healthcare-related costs, according to the organization’s executive director.

USMSS has recently completed the establishment of a nine-member committee that will consider the possibility of providing a self-insurance option, USMSS Executive Director Bill Dow said. USMSS first mentioned the notion after hearing a presentation on the option last year, and the committee plans to research several alternatives to the traditional insurance model, which has become burdensome to many member companies.

“At least you can freeze it at its current rate [with alternatives like a self-insurance model],” Dow said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The insurance companies have been very willing and able to pass out double-digit [percentage] increases in the last several years—and they have a way of making you feel grateful that you only got an 11% increase. I’ve never seen an industry that’s able to do it like that.”

“There’s a way to combat that, and that is to go into the self-insurance market and to dive forward into the secondary-insurance market.”

The USMSS committee’s goal is to provide at least a report on the subject during the annual membership conference beginning Oct. 8 in Denver, Dow said. In addition to considering the formation of a larger group that could result in lower insurance costs, the committee also will look at the possibility of working with a company to provide a “comprehensive wellness program to promote better health in the industry,” he said.

All positions on the committee have been set, but the committee would welcome input from members and others that can provide relevant information on the topic, Dow said.

“At this point, I think we would look at all options and talk to anybody, until we are educated and better informed to make decisions,” he said.

One of the decisions facing the committee will be to determine who will be eligible to participate in any USMSS insurance program, Dow said. The program would be available to any USMSS core member, but it may be advantageous to expand the scope of participants, he said.

“I think that, after we get it off the ground, the intention would be to open it up even further to maybe some associate members—commercial members and maybe manufacturers’ reps that we have relationships with,” Dow said. “It all depends on how we define our group, but the possibility to get more companies involved certainly is there.

“This is a bleeding issue in the country, and most of our members are under $5 million to $6 million per year [in annual revenue], so it’s a big nut for these guys.”