Agents and brokers are on the front lines of navigating between health insurers, business owners, patients and health professionals, and the value they bring to the health sector is highly under-appreciated. Most of their clients are small and medium-sized businesses, and the agents basically serve as external human resources departments for them. They work hard to find policies to meet companies' needs (and budgets), hold seminars to brief employees on the benefit plans, and serve as intermediaries to make sure claims are paid and even help employees find physicians and the best hospitals.So when your employer stops offering health insurance because ObamaCare rules make it too expensive, and you're forced to fend for yourself in system of government-run "exchanges", will you be able to trust that your Obamacare "navigator" is really working for your best interests, rather than in the interests of his government paymasters?
The new health law indirectly acknowledges the value of agents by creating a new profession called "Navigators" for the new state health exchanges. But they won't be paid through the commissions that agents earn today. Instead, the Navigators will get government "grants" to help people select policies. The Navigators will, of course, more likely be beholden to politicians for their jobs than their clients. And once someone has a problem with a claim, good luck in getting them to help.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Can You Trust Your ObamaCare Navigator?
In the Galen Institute's May 14, 2010 health policy briefing, Grace-Marie Turner discusses the new "navigator" who will help you decide what kind of insurance to purchase: