President Obama for the first time said something I totally agree with. In his White House Briefing (Thursday 11/14/2013) he actually made sense. No, I am not talking about the foolish idea of having carriers re-file their current plans so as to allow some people to keep their current coverages. That is just politics at their best. No, I am not talking about how he claims that he fumbled the ball and is ready for the next play. I actually thought that was hilarious since most coaches will pull the player when they fumble (maybe we can do that). No, I am actually talking about the statement he made concerning the complexity of purchasing insurance. The President said, “One thing that we’ve discovered, though, that I think is — is worth noting, a lot of focus has been on the website and the technology, and that’s partly because that’s how we initially identified it; you know, these are glitches. What we’re discovering is that part of the problem has been technology, hardware and software, and that’s being upgraded. But even if we get the — the hardware and software working exactly the way it’s supposed to with relatively minor glitches, what we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy. And another mistake that we made, I think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and lot of different benefits and plans and — and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth, and then they’ve also got to try to apply for tax credits on the website.
So what we’re — what we’re doing even as we’re trying to solve the technical problems is also what can we do to make the application a little bit simpler? What can we do to make it in English as opposed to bureaucratese? Are there steps that we can skip while still getting the core information that people need?
And part of what we’re realizing is that there are going to be a certain portion of people who are just going to need more help and more hand-holding in the application process.
And so — so I guess part of the continuous improvement that I’m looking at is not just a technical issue; it’s also can we streamline the application process; what are we doing to give people more assistance in the application process; you know, how do the call centers and the people who are helping folks in person — how are they trained so that things can go more smoothly, because the bottom line ultimately is I just want people to know what their options are in a — in a clear way. And you know, buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on iTunes. You know, it’s just a much more complicated transaction”.
Really, it’s more difficult to buy insurance than it is to buy a song on iTunes. We have been explaining that detail for the last three years to the media, legislators, and the administration and now they finally understand. Insurance professionals are the best delivery system for a complicated product like health insurance. They can “hand-hold” a client in the selection process as well as be their when the claim happens. It has always been the case and will always be the case and it is only now, that those in government seem to understand. I will say, the rest of the briefing had so many inaccuracies that there were times I wanted to throw something at the TV. For instance, people would get canceled for having a claim. Really? In twenty five plus years, I have never seen that practice. The Department of Insurance in Nebraska would not allow that type of practice and they monitor all policies sold in the state. That type of scare tactic is absolutely wrong but continues to permeate the media. The statement was also made that there were policies sold that “shells” and really didn’t cover anything. Again, our DOI has oversight on plans and wouldn’t allow those to exist as major medical coverage. In all the years I have sold coverages, the policy has always been required to explain in bold print if it was limited benefits.
Well, so much for ranting on but again, thanks Mr. President for speaking the truth this one time.
Ps. Did Joe Wilson actually have it right?