Over the past 5 years, my profession (insurance agent) has taken a pounding from politicians who do not understand that commission sales-people can also be valuable professionals. Most of us offer a valuable service.
Doctors charge patients for each treatment. Lawyers charge for their time. Building Contractors charge by the square foot. Most insurance agents do not charge our customers. We are paid a commission by the insurance companies that our clients choose.
During the Health Care Reform debates, president Obama and his cronies implied that since our compensation was based on commissions, Americans could not trust insurance agents.
That is how they justified setting up the “Navigator” program to help people navigate through the new health insurance “marketplaces.”
I find it ironic that the same politicians who found me worthless in 2010 are asking for my help in 2013.
In order for Mr. Obama to claim that the health insurance exchanges have been successful, he has to have a minimum of 7,000,000 people enroll for health insurance through them.
(I still do not understand why they can claim success with just 7,000,000 enrolments when they kept saying that Obamacare would provide health insurance to 46,000,000 uninsured Americans. I guess I am not smart enough to understand the type of math they do in D.C.)
There is much that I can say about the unregulated Navigators but it would be dismissed by Obamacare supporters as “sour grapes.” People who recognize that Obamacare is not a good plan, will not use Navigators in the first place. There is no reason to criticize them.
I have no problems with the Americans who have chosen to be Navigators. I just have a problem with a federal program that allows anyone to work part-time with insurance who is not regulated.
I have spent 26 years studying and paying fees in order to maintain my insurance license. It rubs me the wrong way that the federal government is allowing, and encouraging people to seek advice from 18-year-old, high school graduates with no experience in health insurance.
Yes, I am paid a percent of the gross amount of your premium for health insurance. In 2014, the amount of commission I receive will be 5% or 6% of the total cost for your health insurance, depending on which company you elect.
Regardless of whether you buy your mandated health insurance through the federal “marketplace” (exchange) or outside of it, my commission remains the same.
Here is the answer to the question, “Why should I use a certified health insurance rather than a Navigator or do it myself?”
You won’t hear this question asked, or addressed, by the politicians or news. However, it is a very important question that you need to ask.
The same politicians that implied that I was worthless and out of date, have bungled the federal “marketplace” software. Not only are millions of Americans finding problems with the software, the insurance companies are having problems too.
Over the past two weeks, the insurance companies are reporting that they are getting incomplete or corrupted files from the federal “marketplaces.” As a result, Americans who enrolled in an Obamacare health insurance plan in early October will not have health insurance in January, 2014.
Since insurance agents will get a report of applications that were received with problems, they can contact you and let you know, while you still have time, to make corrections. It is in their financial, self-interests, to help you get things done correctly. If they do not, their income will be affected.
That is not the case if you use a Navigator. They are paid by the hour. It makes no difference to their wallets if your enrollment was successful or not.
There is one thing that you have to remember. You cannot get help from all insurance agents. The only ones who can legally help you have successfully passed CMS certification in addition to their insurance license. Only certified insurance agents are allowed to help with the new health insurance “marketplaces.”
Without the proper certification, insurance agents are only able to help you get health insurance outside of the “marketplace.” In many cases, that is not a problem. However, the only place where you can get federal help to pay your health insurance premium is if you enroll through your state’s “marketplace.”