With the onset of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there has been a great deal of confusion and frustration surrounding Health Care. Policyholders don’t know what to do, where to go, or what protection plan to buy. As with anything, change can be overwhelming, not only for the customer, but for the local insurance agency who is already faced with an ever-changing “modern consumer”.
But there is an opportunity for local agencies to take advantage of a confused market place. A recent blog on Smart Health Claims states: “Local health departments should lead the charge in educating the public about the Affordable Care Act. As protectors of the public’s health, it’s imperative that you let the public know how to receive the best possible health coverage. You can also educate partners to continue ensuring the best health coverage for all”.
So often, local agencies allow changes by carriers, or even the government in this case, to seemingly cripple their business. The reason for this is two-fold:
This industry traditionally does not react well to change but more importantly, when faced with change, doesn’t approach change with a plan.
Having a plan of attack is critical for any agency to not only reduce losses during this period, but to grow.
One way to do this is to operate with profound knowledge. This simply means preparing in advance what you know in advance. You know the marketplace is in disarray and that the public is confused. You also know you will most likely be receiving an influx of phone calls from people asking you how they will be affected by the Affordable Care Act and what they should do. When this happens, your entire agency should be ready.
Work together as a team to create talk tracks and solution scripts that are focused on doing 3 things:
1. Provide a customer service experience that offers peace of mind for all who contact you. Let them know that no matter what happens, you are there to help them navigate through the process and provide them with a health care solution that’s right for them.
2. Become a true consultant, not just an order-taker or a traffic cop. Educate them through the process. Don’t just shrug your shoulders and blame your lack of knowledge on a government that can’t get their act together. It’s your job to provide as much information about the ACA and even offer multiple solutions to fit their needs.
3. Create additional revenue streams. Smart Health Claims also states: “Many local health departments are looking to expand their billing of Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies, but it’s proving to be a challenging process. With the proper billing system in place, you can actually increase your revenue, and in turn budgets, despite the seemingly constant funding cuts you have to endure.” This is also a great time to review additional customer policies by making adjustments to support the changes made to their health coverage.
You may not have all the answers, but if your agency is focused on being part of the solution, chances are you will provide more value to your policyholders and retain more business.