My wife recently left her full-time job to pursue her dream career of being a personal trainer and unfortunately we lost her incredible benefits in the process. Incredible isn’t an understatement either. I seriously can’t remember paying for a single thing related to our healthcare over the time we had them. Our benefits were so good that Costco owed ME money after purchasing a years worth of contact lenses (they had never seen that happen before).
Suffice it to say, we were excited and incredibly bummed at the same time. Sure – Amy’s new job meant she would be fulfilling a lifelong dream, but we’d be losing those benefits! “We can’t let benefits control our life, Mark!” I remember Amy saying during numerous discussions about her career change. She was right.
The Search for Health Insurance Begins
So, our search began for new health insurance. My decision of where I’d go after dropping off her plan was easy. I mean, I work for The Bailey Group! How much easier could it get!? Our company offers benefits to all of its full-time employees. My qualifying event of losing coverage because of Amy’s job change allowed me to jump on the plan mid-year. I was set.
Our concern with Amy’s search for health insurance coverage was that we were right in the midst of all the Obamacare madness. All we were hearing on the news and through social media was that obtaining coverage through Obamacare was the most annoying, time-consuming, frustrating thing ever. There’s no doubt that buying coverage through Healthcare.gov was all of those things (and more …) until the website was fixed in late December.
But, things are better now.
I suggested to Amy that she work with one of our agents instead of going through Healthcare.gov on her own. There are two reasons for that: We wouldn’t qualify for a subsidy because our household income was above the threshold and using an agent is like having an extra person on your team to go to bat for you whenever problems or questions come up.
It was settled. Amy would talk with one of our agents about what plan would be the best fit for our current situation.
Step 1 – 4: Working With An Agent to Buy Health Insurance
“The entire process took 1 week. I felt validated, listened to and understood. I went into the experience expecting the worst and came out of it feeling completely, 100% satisfied.”
I asked Amy to write a blog post about her experience obtaining health insurance through one of our agents so that you could get a feel for what the process of working with an agent is like – from step A to Z. Amy worked with Tammy Evans, one of our individual agents, to get covered and here’s what she wrote on her blog The Funky Fork about her experience:
Step 1: My health insurance agent and I met. She plugged my data into an insurance plan database that only insurance agents have access to, printed out all of my coverage options (they were totally different and MUCH better than then ones on healthcare.gov), answered all 584 of my questions, and we crunched numbers. She listened to my concerns, what exactly I was looking for, and proceeded to point out the plans she believed most aligned to me and my needs.
Step 2: I brought home the print-outs of my options and discussed them with Mark. Once we agreed upon the best plan, I emailed my agent my choice.
Step 3: Almost immediately upon sending my agent my decision, I was sent a very basic form to fill out. Then, within about 10 minutes of submitting the form, I received a confirmation email from my insurance company confirming that I am now enrolled with benefits through their company beginning February 1.
Step 4: I did a happy dance. I did not grind my teeth, yell, or want to punch my pillow– so everything was a success! The entire process took 1 week. I felt validated, listened to and understood. I went into the experience expecting the worst and came out of it feeling completely, 100% satisfied.
This is what Amy’s happy dance looks like.
I can almost hear you saying it – “Mark … she’s your wife. Of course she’s going to say those nice things about your company.” Sure. That’s a valid response. The reason I asked Amy to write that post on her blog was not because I wanted her to say a bunch of great things about us. The point was to make sure you truly understand that you have other options for your health insurance that aren’t a government or state-run website.
Amy will officially be covered on February 1 and we can finally put this health insurance stress behind us.
Mark Bailey, Jr. is the Senior Marketing Manager of NFP's Atlantic region. Before joining the company, Mark was a production assistant on the tv show Glee and an on-air talent on 95.1 WAPE. He has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and corporate benefits space. Mark is an avid Jacksonville Jaguars fan and loves to spend his free time building custom mechanical keyboards.