A historic election may have just taken place, one that could reshape the health insurance marketplace for years to come, but this is no time for agents to scale back on cold calling sales prospects and coast through the rest of Open Enrollment.
Time is ticking — to contact your aged health insurance leads, to get them to make a decision, and to get them signed up. Yes, massive change could happen, but that will be months or years down the road. What is important to remember is that your sales prospects need affordable, dependable coverage now. It’s time to double down on sales.
Your Task as an Agent Just Got Harder
I’m sorry to say, but post-election, expect your sales consultations to be more complex. People will be confused.
Not only are some still catching up, reading about 2017 premium hikes, insurers exiting the state exchanges, the ongoing struggles of the ACA, etc. These same folks are now hearing about new President-elect Donald J. Trump’s plans “repeal and replace” the ACA, that is, before he said he was going to “keep the good parts” of Obamacare after meeting with President Obama.
It’s a fair question for consumers. If you’re selling health insurance this December and January, you’re going to have to specify what you’re selling regarding what folks are hearing about on the nightly news.
For now, you should anticipate needing to reassure some prospects about three things:
- That the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land,
- That the insurance they buy today can be relied on for all of 2017,
- And that any government health care changes that do happen will come later.
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Consumers Must Minimize Their Financial Risks
“People should not put off enrolling in coverage and risk going uninsured, which could be financially devastating for themselves and their family.” That’s what Sam Gibbs, head of Agile Health Insurance, told The Street last week.
There are some risks for everyday people who don’t take advantage of Open Enrollment:
- Being left with insufficient insurance,
- Staying with plans that have skyrocketing premiums,
- Or end up with no health insurance at all on Feb. 1, 2017.
For these folks, it’s a must to have insurance coverage in place by Jan. 31 at the latest — and preferably earlier. Dec. 15 is the cutoff for buying coverage that starts on Jan. 1.
As Nate Purpura, VP of consumer affairs for eHealth, a California health insurance exchange, pointed out to The Street, customers can always drop a plan later if needed, but they may not be able to sign up for coverage again until next November if they don’t act now.
How Agents Can Double Down With Health Insurance Leads
Your aged health insurance leads will most likely be thinking about two things:
- Plan Options
Which are really just two ways of talking about one thing: getting the most for the money.
One big opportunity for saving is on prescription drug coverage. Your leads lower their costs by choosing a plan that offers better coverage for their prescription medications. All ACA-compliant plans are required to offer prescription drug coverage, but covered drugs and out-of-pocket costs vary.
Some shoppers may be able to save big with subsidies. A sizable portion of folks who’ve bought insurance through HealthCare.gov or their own state exchanges pay less than $100 a month for their premium, thanks to government subsidies.
Plans overall can change from year to year as well, meaning that deductibles, covered prescription drugs, and in-network doctors may change. For those customers, what may have been a decent plan last year may be less valuable this year due to such changes in coverage. Time to pick a new plan.
This is certainly one of the most interesting times to be a health insurance agent. The rising costs and falling choice of coverage options. A new government forming which may change laws we’ve only just got accustomed to. And millions of consumers, looking for a good deal and good coverage. While the environment is challenging, it is also one of opportunity. Work hard, double down on your sales game over the next few months, and you could see good ROI down the road.
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