Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stuck? Not Hardly.

Occasionally I run into folks who are in a plan and can't move. Sometimes, if they made the wrong choice from the start, it can be a bad thing.

But when they make an informed choice the outcome is much improved.

One of my clients has been with the same plan for almost 2 years. His renewal is coming up and, while the increase isn't dramatic, I made a pre-emptive decision to offer some plans as a comparison.

One of the suggested plans has better benefits and a premium that is about $80 less than his renewal.

I sent the proposal over and followed with a phone call.

He was glad to hear from me and had briefly reviewed the proposal. He asked about the qualifying process for the new plan.

My ears perked up.

While last year (his first year under the HSA) was a good year (saving over $7,000 in premiums) this year wasn't as good.

He had a melanoma surgically removed followed by chemotherapy. His wife also had some issues and required surgery as well. In his words, "You were right. We satisfied our $5,800 deductible the first 4 hours in the hospital."

He went on to tell me that every claim for all family members had been paid at 100% since January 10th. He had no complaints at all about his Golden Rule HSA.

Of course the cancer knocks him out of moving for a few years but he isn't stuck.

Over the last 2 years he has saved over $15,000 in premiums vs. what he would have paid his former carrier. Even with the $5,800 out of pocket this year, it is less (by almost half) than he would have paid out of pocket for he and his wife under the old plan.

Total savings over 2 years, more than $20,000 in premiums and out of pocket.

Granted, this is not the way I want my clients to save money but the news is, the plan worked exactly as billed. He has no complaints and tells everyone how great his plan is.

But what about the alternative plan?

True, if he could move he could save almost $1,000 in premiums but his renewal premiums are in line with other carriers. The plan I had suggested (before learning of his health change) just happens to be super-competitive right now in the Atlanta market.

If there are any regrets it is this. HIPAA prevents carriers from sharing information with the agent. There was a time when I could go online and look at claim history (summary reports, not full details) and would be alerted to issues. Those times are past which makes the agent look like a disinterested bystander.

The reward in our business is client satisfaction and knowing that the plan works exactly as it should. Not only has my client saved over $20,000 in the last 2 years but he is confident that should he need the plan in the future it will work just as well as it did in the past.
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