While sitting through a recent overview of changes to an insurance company’s health plans brought about by complying with the Affordable Care Act, I had to endure the sneering comments of other insurance agents complaining about Obamacare. Fortunately, the review only took ninety minutes so I was able to escape the company of insurance brokers who don’t support Obamacare for a variety of irrational and and selfish reasons.
If you hate Obamacare, don’t sell it
I wanted to ask the grumpy agents sitting at my table why they attended the presentation, aside from the free lunch, if they hated Obamacare so much? Specifically, “If you don’t support Obamacare, why are you going to sell it?” The obvious motivation for many in the insurance industry to become certified and sell the new individual and small business ACA plans is money. If a shop owner doesn’t like key lime pie, and doesn’t think the dessert is good for the customers, the business owner doesn’t have to sell key lime pie. That is, unless, his patrons request it.
Will agents be honest with clients?
It is just so disingenuous for these agents and brokers to have opposed the ACA and continue to support repeal of this important health care legislation to then turn around and advertise that they are certified agents for the new Covered California health plans. At the very least I hope these agents will tell their clients up front that even though the client will benefit from the provisions in the new health plans, the agent firmly oppose Obamacare, but will gladly accept the commission paid for enrolling the member.
What provision do you hate most about Obamacare?
Perhaps they could walk into a client meeting with a big “I Hate Obamacare” lapel button. I am certain there will be many clients who will appreciate his or her honesty. Other prospects might be encouraged to ask which provisions of Obamacare the agent hates most-
- Guarantee issue: no denial for pre-existing conditions
- Allowing children to stay on the parents plan until age 26,
- No rate increases for pre-existing conditions
- Premium assistance to help low and moderate income families afford health insurance for their children
- All plans must include family friendly maternity coverage
- All plans must include 10 essential health benefits
Irrational reasons for hating ACA
The fact that there are over 10,000 pages of new regulations governing the implementation of the ACA, a complaint I heard during lunch, is not a reason supporting the repeal of Obamacare. Heck, Medicare must have at least that many pages of rules and regulations and they aren’t calling for Medicare to be repealed.
Insurance is fraught with forms, rules, and regulations. A small change to one rule can ripple through the process and turn into a tsunami of a nightmare for the agent and client. I empathize with me fellow agents and brokers who have a founded distaste for any change as there is a whole new learning curve to climb. One new simple regulation can impact a multitude of different family and business situations. The additional training to become certified to sell Covered California health plans to individuals and small groups is time consuming and not how I want to spend my weekend.
What is the alternative to the ACA?
The ACA is not perfect. There are many aspects that I wish were different and I would like to see changed. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that Obamacare will bring the admission ticket to quality health care in the form of a health plan membership ID card to millions of people who have suffered, often time in silence, for lack of health insurance. The benefits to the U.S. economy, productivity and quality of life for all Americans far outweighs the inconvenience it poses to agents and brokers as we learn the new system.
It’s “OK” not to sell a product you don’t support
It’s no secret that Obamacare is wrapped up in a lot of politics. If an insurance agent opposes the ACA on political or religious principles, I respect that position. All I ask is that those who are opposed to Obamacare be honest and tell their clients how they feel. If an agent is strongly opposed to Obamacare they should seriously consider not even selling ACA compliant health plans. Clients are better served by those who believe in the product than those who are selling just for the money.