Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Death of a Salesman

After more than 40 years in the health insurance industry, I never thought this day would come. The advice offered based on years of experience and hearing almost everything under the sun from (literally) thousands of clients is now going silent.

#Obamacare has replaced insurance agents with "navigators" who have been given a week of training, mostly on how to use their computer to find health insurance plans and rates. These reps are nothing more than faceless voices at the other end of an 800 number.

Because they are unlicensed, and nameless, they are not accountable for the advice they give.

Got a problem? Who did you talk to? Tamika? Tamika who?

It really doesn't matter because whoever you talked to before, and the one you are talking to now, really doesn't care about your problem. Why? Because there is no accountability.

Mary Jennings is (was) a health insurance broker in Connecticut. Mary is 29 and has held an insurance license for 2 years. She is approved to help people find health insurance on the Connecticut insurance exchange, Access Health CT.

Her two year career is about to end, thanks to Obamacare.
Jennings is one of more than 250 brokers certified to help customers navigate the state exchange, Access Health CT, and find the plan that best fits their needs. But next year, she said, she won’t be helping customers anymore if the health insurers on the exchange decide to eliminate the already-low commissions they pay to brokers like her. 
As state regulators consider rate proposals for next year, both of the carriers set to remain on Connecticut's exchange – Anthem and ConnectiCare – could eliminate their commissions for brokers in 2017, creating uncertainty as brokers and customers plan for the coming year. Anthem said earlier this year it would eliminate broker commissions while ConnectiCare has yet to decide. - CT Mirror
Connecticut is not the only state where agent commissions have been cut to zero. Carriers have been decreasing commissions for the last 3 years with major cuts in the last 18 months.

Most of the health insurance agents I know have completely left the insurance business or shifted to other areas like Medicare. Working with folks age 65 and up who are entering Medicare is where my focus has been since 2011. Two years ago I completely abandoned the under 65 health insurance market and suggested my clients get used to dealing with healthcare.gov.

No one is happy with that decision but for me, health insurance is not a hobby. It is my paycheck.

According to the CT Mirror article, 40% of those who bought health insurance on the CT exchange did so with the help of agents.

What happens in 2017 when there are no agents to offer advice and guidance? No doubt they will still buy insurance if for no other reason than the fact the government has told them they must buy insurance or else .....

But who will they turn to when they have a complaint or question? Will Tamika still be there or will they talk to someone who was asking if you want fries with your order the week before?

Obamacare has brought about the death of a salesman and that is truly a loss that cannot be replaced.

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