Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stupid Carrier Terminology

[Warning: inside baseball-type rant ahead]

Renewals happen. Specifically, health insurance rates are generally fixed for a year at a time. At the end of the year, rates go up (yes, theoretically they could stay the same or go down, but how often does that happen?), and one is usually given the option to make plan changes that mitigate the increase. These are typically along the lines of increasing deductibles or co-insurance percentages, or dropping optional prescription benefits and the like.

Not exactly rocket surgery.

These options are often included with the renewal letter; sometimes one must request them from the carrier. Regardless of how they're obtained, they'll require no additional underwriting (since one is actually reducing the carrier's exposure).

So far, so good.

Here's my beef: Anthem calls these options "downgrades."

How stupid is that?!

For better or worse, Anthem gets a major share of my individual medical business (and truthfully, aside from this particular aggravation, they're actually a decent enough carrier). It just ticks me off to no end to begin conversations with clients by telling them they can "downgrade" their plan.

Who the heck wants to downgrade anything?

This is not a new phenomenon with Anthem, it's just hit a boiling point for me: why would you risk alienating your own customers by implying substandard coverage?

It's not like there aren't perfectly good alternatives: plan adjustment, design change, anything neutral or (heaven forfend!) positive. But telling clients that they're being "downgraded" hurts Anthem's own image, while adding nothing of value to the process.

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