Agents are the Answer
I remember when the news broke that the House of Representatives was going to pass the Affordable Care Act as if it happened yesterday. I remember where I was (home), the music I was listening to (I Gotta Feeling) and what I did the day after (a drive to Santa Ynez). And, of course, I remembered reflecting on what all this would mean. What was this legislation supposed to do and how was it going to work, how would the insurers adjust to this, what kind of impact would this have on individual, and small and large group medical insurance plans? These were just a few of the questions that were on my mind. But most of all, while I was optimistic about their future, I was also concerned how the ACA would impact agents as they navigated through all the changes.
Three years later, the question of whether or not agents will be needed has already been answered. The complicated rollout of the ACA coupled with the seemingly endless regulatory tweaks to it offer plenty of fodder for frustration for everyone. Enabling consumers to have clarity and ease of access to coverage when it comes to their healthcare options has, ironically, been made more difficult at a time when things were supposed to be simpler. There are seemingly more questions than there are answers. But as we enter into one of the most tumultuous eras of our industry, the one thing that stands out loud and clear is that agents have become more important than ever and will be relied upon like never before to do what they’ve been doing for decades – ensuring that folks have access to coverage for their healthcare needs.
The insurance companies understand this. And so do the states and federal government. The fact that agents will be paid commissions on Medicaid business in some states is tantamount to an exclamation mark here. Agents not only have a role but, in fact, are a vitally important and integral part of the healthcare financing system.
We have healthcare reform today in large part because of the frustrations we all had before 2014 – medical underwriting for individuals. It took the equivalent of an earthquake to dislodge it from our healthcare system. All citizens of the wealthiest nation in the world should have access to care, and it took a major change in course to get us there. Yes, we’re entering into a world with some uncertainty, but in some ways we are not; Gone will be the 25% decline rate due to medical underwriting. Gone will be surcharging for pre-existing conditions. Gone will be APS’s and waiting for months for a decision on an application. And they are not coming back. Like there are with aftershocks, more changes are to come – some negative, most positive.
Healthcare delivery and the way it’s financed is evolving into a new system. Ultimately, the ACA will be made workable because it will have to be. Agents will be there every step of the way and beyond. And you can count on us at Warner Pacific to be there at your side for support and encouragement.