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If Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention: The Time To Become Health Care Reform Champions Is Now

What do you really know about insurance? Does it seem like someone is always trying to sell you some type of insurance? The pressure is on for each of us to understand what insurance is all about and answer basic questions—what type of insurance do I need? How much do I need? How much should I pay for said coverage?

I can comfortably say I know the basics-- why we need it, and more importantly, why we don’t. I started in the health insurance industry in 1988 and back then, insurance was less complicated. We sold major medical plans which contained an upfront deductible and 20% coinsurance. Employers paid 95-100% of the premium costs and employees were happy. No one interfered with coverage decisions, especially not the federal government.

Back then, the word “penalty” only had one meaning: “a disadvantage or handicap in sports and games that are imposed on a player or team, typically for infringement of rules.”

Today, however, we have been thrust into a world of laws, regulations, senate bills, mandates, and yes, penalties. In today’s world, “penalty” has a very different meaning: “a punishment imposed for breaking a law, rule, or contract.” Unfortunately, this modern definition is no longer limited to sports or games.

It seems like we all have to take a stab at becoming an insurance genius in today’s world to avoid penalties. It doesn’t matter if we are single, married, or have a family—we all have to take part and dig our heels in to understand the new laws and regulations that have snuck into our daily lives.

I personally have taken apart bits and pieces of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to try to dissect these laws, regulations, senate bills, mandates, and penalties and integrate them into my day-to-day dealings with my clients. I have found it is a daunting task. It takes time, effort, patience, and most importantly (for me) repetition. Sometimes I find myself reading the same law over and over and if I am lucky it will eventually sink in. I think as insurance brokers, we feel the most pressure to understand what is going on in the industry and to effectively communicate what we have learned with others. Am I an insurance genius? No. Am I learning along with everyone else?  Yes.

Will what I am learning today change again tomorrow? Most likely. If you are like me, and feel the pressure to be a forensic scientist, desperately trying to find the solution in the midst of ACA—keep this in mind—you are not alone. Look to your Ovation team as your health care reform champions, and we will become geniuses—together.

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