Saturday, November 15, 2014

What's our role?

The industry is changing, the language is changing and its becoming more confusing than ever before. Gone are the days of $10 co-pays to have a baby! When the Affordable Care Act was first introduced, there were many misconceptions. There were laws and regulations that were established without a good understanding of exactly what was trying to be accomplished. Not only are consumers confused with all the recent changes, but so many consumers don't understand basic insurance terminology, how to read an explanation of benefits or how to calculate their portion of medical bills. Add the government to the equation and the confusion level rises!

As a broker, our role is more important than ever. Our job is to educate, help find you the best plans, help you understand the basics and beyond. Not only is the language confusing but health care costs are rising. We are getting bills from providers higher than we've ever seen. That adds to the confusion and frustration of using your health insurance. We all know it doesn't come cheap, but it is an absolute necessity, in my opinion. Health care bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. A couple days in the hospital can lead to thousands, upon thousands of dollars in medical bills if you are not insured. My daughter had to have an MRI when she was about 2 years old, the charged amount was $3,200. Thankfully, we only owed a portion of that, but could imagine if you were not insured? That was just a quick test, we were only at the hospital for an hour. Imagine something much more serious.

Not only do we need the insurance, we need to understand what we are looking at. When you go out to dinner you always look at the bill and make sure you were charged correctly, right? I know I do! Health insurance bills and EOB's should be reviewed very carefully as well. Sometimes we just assume it's all balanced correctly because doctors and insurance companies always know what they are doing, right?! Not exactly. But it affects our pocketbook directly, and we need to make sure they match, we need to make sure we are getting charged for the right procedures. There are codes they use and trust me, they can use the wrong codes! I know I'm not going to pay for something I didn't eat at the restaurant, so I am definitely not going to pay for medicine, tests or procedures that weren't done.

The terminology can be extremely confusing as well. We love our acronyms in the health insurance industry. HSA, EOB, FSA, HRA, ACA, FMLA, its enough to make your head spin! That's why we are here. We want to make sure you understand what you have in front of you. We want to educate and re-educate. Bring your concerns to us.

Using a broker doesn't increase you premium, it's already built into the rates. By using a broker, you gain an advocate, a partner and someone to call directly when you have an issue. You won't be bounced around from one customer service agent to another. Open Enrollment is a great time to educate, and that time is now.

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