Is the Price of Health Insurance in Ohio the Same Wherever You Buy It?

Posted by Joey Giangola

Oct 6, 2014 6:39:00 AM

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Today I show up in front of you with my hat in hand, I have to go back on something I’ve been telling you for as long as I’ve been in the business.

You see, I’ve always told you that it doesn’t matter who, where or when you buy your health insurance from.

You’re ALWAYS going to pay the same price for the same plan, no matter what.

It was one of the things I took the most pride in telling you.

That statement stopped being true several months ago and without me even knowing it.
Towards the end of last enrollment, we’ll say March or April, Medical Mutual of Ohio started “selling” plans on their website with a different price than what I had available to me, an independent agent.

They also neglected to tell me and every other independent agent about the change, which is very telling by itself.

It wasn’t brought to my attention until someone, like yourself, who found us online sent me an email and asked about the two conflicting prices.

How Much Is the Savings?

I thought you would never ask?

$9 a month.

That’s it.

Here’s a price listing for all of Medical Mutual’s “off exchange” plans they currently offer.

Plan Name Agent Direct
HSA 6000 - Bronze $403.94 $394.87
HSA 4000 - Bronze $426.03 $416.40
Classic 5000 - Bronze $494.58 $483.25
Classic 3500 - Silver $536.50 $524.61
HSA 3000 - Silver $566.53 $554.07
Classic 2000 - Silver $566.53 $554.07
HSA 2000 - Gold $650.38 $635.65
Classic 1000 - Gold $670.77 $656.04
Classic 500 - Platinum $764.25 $746.69

Why Medical Mutual Is Cutting the Commission

You can imagine my surprise when I finally figured out what that person was talking about.

I immediately made a phone call to my representative at the company to confirm this was a new, permanent policy.
 
Which it has been for the better part of two years so far and isn't going anywhere for 2017. 

Once I verified this information, I was a little shocked at the potential mess Medical Mutual might be creating for itself and potentially the industry. We'll get to that in a second.

This special “discount” however comes with a very specific exception.

You have to buy a plan from their website, on your own, without any assistance from an agent.

If you call in to the company, you’ll pay the higher rate.

If you call me, you’ll pay the higher rate.

And it’s not because I want to charge you more, I physically can’t sell you the plan with the lower price.

They can do this because they’re cutting some of the commission out of the policy.

That also means, you won't get any help buying the plan and you won't have anyone to turn to (other than Medical Mutual’s customer service department) for help if something goes wrong.

Medical Mutual is the only company over the last two years who have made this dramatic change.
 
Other companies like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna have not.

The Slippery Slope

The reason this is not good news for you, me or the insurance industry is because this has the potential for agents to be less forthcoming and generous (then they already are) with the information they freely distribute.

The insurance industry is painfully behind this trend called the internet.
 
It's also very slow to adopt the idea that YOU want access to unbiased information on demand to help make the most informed buying decision possible.

We’ve strongly believed in that principle here at Giangola Insurance for awhile, posting our first blog article a little over six years ago today.

Since it didn’t matter where you bought your health insurance from, there was no incentive for going directly to a company to buy it and NOT rewarding the person who helped solve your problems.

Now that has all changed.

There’s enough information on our website for you to make a BETTER decision than if you did call Medical Mutual direct and spoke with one of their agents.

I can say that because when you call a company direct they’re only going to tell you how great they are and make no mention of the other health insurance companies you have to choose from.

That’s not being unbiased.

That’s what independent agents do best. That’s what my job is.

Also, before you start thinking bad things like “I don’t like Medical Mutual,” you should know there hasn’t been a bigger supporter of thier company over the last three years.

Why Am I Telling You This?

Like I said above, we think you should have ALL the information available to make an informed, educated buying decision.

If you want to use our information to sign up directly with the company to save a few bucks ($9) a month...

That’s a risk we’re willing to take.

If you don’t value what I do enough, there’s nothing I’m going to be able to say or do to change your mind.

If I’m being honest again, I don’t want to.

The only thing I can do is be as helpful to you as I possibly can. I do that by writing articles, filming videos, and sharing my knowledge with you freely and without expectation.

The Bottom Line

You’re going to find out about the price difference from someone, it’s better if you hear it from me first.

This only applies to Medical Mutual’s plans sold directly from their website without any assistance from an agent or broker.

If you find another health insurance company in Ohio who is also doing this, please let me know.

Same price or not, we are still going to continue to provide you with the best, free, information we can to help you with your insurance decision.

Next Step

If you want to go even further and see exactly how I can help you make that decision click the button below. 
 
Get Started!

Written by: Joey Giangola

Joey is the third generation to join the family business. He's the agency’s primary content creator and all around web guy. When Joey isn’t talking about insurance on the internet, or helping clients he’s probably spending time with his family. In other rare spare moments he could be found obsessing over one of the local Cleveland sports teams, struggling to stay awake late enough to play video games or trying to remember how to play the bass guitar.

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Topics: Health Insurance

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