We know—that’s a weird question, but it is a relevant one. Insurance agents don’t just sell individual and group health insurance policies; most are also covered by one. And that means that many of you are facing the same challenges that your clients have: finding an affordable plan that protects you from financial loss and covers your doctor visits and prescriptions. The trouble is, plans that check off all of these requirements are pretty rare, so you probably have to make some of the same sacrifices as your clients.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Has your health insurance premium gone up by double digits in one or more of the years since 2014?
- Have you had to increase your deductible or out-of-pocket limit, or have you had to drop the up-front copayments on your plan just to keep it affordable?
- Has your insurance company canceled your existing plan and “mapped” you to another plan that you didn’t actually choose?
- Has your insurance company made the decision to pull out of the market altogether, forcing you to find a new carrier?
- Has your plan reduced its provider network and limited your access to your PCP, specialists, or favorite hospital? Or has your doctor decided to stop accepting individual health insurance?
- Are you paying more for prescriptions than in the past, or are you having to visit specific pharmacies to get the carrier’s best price?
- Have you actually had to drop your ACA health plan in favor of a more affordable option like short-term coverage or a health care sharing ministry?
- Have you or a family member had to pay an individual mandate penalty?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, we know how difficult these changes can be, and, unfortunately, being an insurance expert doesn’t seem to make it any easier when you and your family are affected.
The Good News
There is a silver lining, though. If you’re experiencing the same challenges that your clients are, then it’s a lot easier for you to put yourself into their shoes—because you actually are in their shoes! Consumers like buying from people who they trust, and they tend to trust people they can relate to. Use this to your advantage. When your clients complain about the high prices or lack of options, you can honestly say “I understand” and tell them your story.
Most importantly, if you’re facing the same challenges as your clients, you’re probably also looking for solutions for yourself and your family. Maybe you’ve selected a High Deductible Health Plan and set up an HSA. Maybe you’ve purchased a separate telehealth benefit so you can call a doctor and get a prescription refilled. Maybe you’ve discovered some new transparency tools and are “shopping around” for lower-cost health care options. If so, these are ideas you should definitely be sharing with your clients. You may not get paid a commission for all of these solutions, but telling your clients about them will help them save some money and will certainly strengthen the relationship. You’ll be much more than a broker; you’ll be their trusted advisor.
Often times, brokers will tell their clients something like “this is the same recommendation I’d make to my parents.” If sincere, that’s a powerful statement. It’s even more powerful to say “we’re struggling with the same issues and this is what my family is doing.” You can even pull out your insurance card as proof.