We can’t go back and change what’s been done. No matter what you may hear, I don’t see the health care bill being repealed in its entirety. You may see some aspects of it changed or altered and even some funding stopped, but the damage is irreversible. There will be too much money and resources used to comply with the new law that carriers and providers will be reluctant to go back and have to re-tool again. So if this pessimistic future seems like the end of the world, I would suggest you stop and look at what this really means to you. Because of the efforts that NAHU and NAIFA did on the behalf of their members, did you realize that health insurance will still have to be sold through an agent? Even when the “exchanges” are in place, the law states that the agent is still an integral part of the delivery system. Let’s face it, the general public needs our services to help them in the decision making process. Now with that said, do I think you will continue to get paid as much for the sale as you have? No, it is my belief that commissions will be reduced and most likely be levelized. That is, you will get paid less up front but will most likely see higher renewals. Overall, carriers know that there is a cost to the delivery of product to the end user and they have always looked for the most cost effective method with or with out the agent. Since they have not been able in the past to take the agent out of the equation, why would they be able to in the near future. I believe the successful agent under health care reform will be those who adapt and market themselves as experts. Now is the time to set your self up as that agent. Take some classes, get to understand how insurance actually works, talk with carrier reps and by all means, listen to your clients. The biggest problem I have with our government officials is the fact that they are not listening. Many of you use our individual quoting engine in your daily practice. I feel that it would be helpful for our Department of Insurance to see it as they go about building an exchange as I feel it pretty much exactly that as it is used today. My call to the director was taken by someone who was less than cordial. I explained that I would like to meet with the director and demo our “exchange” so that is may be a model as the state develops their own. Not only did that not happen but it was almost comical how the conversation went. First, I am sure the bureaucrat answering has no idea of the complexity of an exchange let alone how health insurance actually works, but instead, it seems her job is to keep the average person from speaking directly to the director. After short discussion during a second call, I decided that volunteering my time was not something that the State of Nebraska needed. It is much more appropriate to fund a study to determine how to go about complying with the new law. No wonder the average citizen feels left out of the system. Have you ever had a situation with either an elected official or a government bureaucrat that left you frustrated? I would love to have those stories added to mine. Just post your experiences in the response area. Remember, these will be the same people who ultimately will handle your health care also.
WHAT IS DONE, IS DONE, NOW WHAT?
About the Author: Chuck Olson
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