Monday, January 23, 2012

Obamacare Techno Version

One of the little discussed aspects of Obamneycare is the loss of personal service. Insurance agents: Love them or hate them, agents perform a service in helping the consumer navigate their options, help them find a plan that suits their needs and budget and advise them of potential pitfalls of one plan vs. another.

Agents also save you from the morass of home office non-service and the dreaded "Press 1 for English".

Home office staff costs money. Salaries, overhead, benefits all have a cost. Home office staff is paid regardless of whether they are productive or not. Even worse, the answers they provide don't even have to be accurate or helpful.

By contrast, agents are not compensated until after you make a purchase and are satisfied.

But all that is about to change.

Come 2014 "Exchanges" will be where many American's buy insurance. You will be encouraged to go online or call an 800 number and pick a plan. You will discuss your needs with salaried navigators that are unlicensed and unregulated.

This is something like PCIP, only bigger.

PCIP, the health insurance program for those with pre-existing medical conditions, was supposed to capture 4 million uninsured citizens in the first two years.

So far fewer than 30,000 have signed up, many states have run out of money and states like California will put you on a waiting list if you call.

And the Exchange is supposed to serve over 200 million people.

Maybe it is just me, but I sense a problem brewing.
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