It might seem obvious, but understanding how the person who helps you buy health insurance gets paid is something you’re probably not all that knowledgeable on. It could also be preventing you from considering all your options and making an educated decision.
Common sense would lead you to believe that a “consultant” has to charge extra for their super secret knowledge and understanding of the things they are consulting on, right?
How can an industry, like independent health insurance agents (that’s me), give away their time without costing you more money to use their services?
The Truth, We Are Free(ish)
You’re paying for us/me regardless if you use our services or not.
One of the dirty little secrets in the health insurance world is that my compensation is already built into the price of whatever policy you decide to buy. Meaning, you can walk into Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's front door and pay the same price as you would from the guy down the street.
The problem with that is, when you walk through Anthem’s front door you enter their alternate universe full of fluffy kittens, cooing babies and eternal sunshine. In that world, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the only health insurance company on the planet. A company who has the best health insurance options that have ever existed.
Not only that, but you might hear about how they cured world hunger, brought upon world peace, and saved a baby sea lion from an oil spill.
Fine, I might have made that last part up, but I think you get the point.
Don’t Travel to an Alterternet Universe
Quick question, when was the last time you bought something from ONE company without having any knowledge of their competition?
I thought so.
The guy down the street, or online (that’s me again), he’s going to be able to help you step outside that alternate universe, back into reality, and expose the strengths and weakness of multiple health insurance companies.
What About Lucrative Bonuses and Other Company Incentives?
They still exist, however no where near the capacity they did 10-15 years ago.
This is probably not good business advice, but I make it a point to delete any email from a health insurance company about bonuses (without even opening it).
I want my recommendation and your decision to be made strictly on what works best for you, not my bonus quest.
I have received bonuses in the past, however they were purely accidental
Why Are Commissions Built In?
That’s a fantastic question.
They are built in to prevent insurance agents from being able to offer discounts, sales, rebates, etc.
It’s actually illegal for us to incentivize you in any way to buy from us, outside of our irresistible charm and personality.
Prices are fixed and heavily regulated to maintain a level playing field.
The downside of that, if you like the self-checkout line, is that you are now paying for something you aren’t getting.
Know, Like and Trust
The beauty of this system is that it allows you to make a choice based on who you know, like and trust more. The person who understands you and your problems best and provides the most useful information.
Your judgement won’t be clouded by an extra 10, 20 or 30 percent off and will allow you the freedom and reassurance to pick the best man for the job.
The Bottom Line
Now that we are rounding the final turn to the “Obamacare” finish line. In a little over 30 days the brand new Ohio Health Insurance Marketplace will open its doors for the first time, marking a radically new era for how you will buy your health insurance.
With this new era you will be faced with an overwhelming amount of new decisions surrounding your health insurance, and who to trust to help you make them.
It’s very important that you do not assume you cannot afford the help and guidance of an independent, experienced health insurance professional.
As long as you're willing to learn, I am willing to teach, no extra charge.
You Tell Me
If you didn’t know seeking the advice of an insurance agent wouldn’t cost you more money, will you be rethinking how you approach the health insurance buying process next time?