Am I wrong to be angry?

Mar 6, 2007

  1. Guest
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    A friend calls me and says she went direct with Blue Shield of CA two years ago for a health plan. She wants to change to a richer, more expensive plan and wants me to be her agent and help facilitate it (it will require a new app, not just a simple xfer, as she will have to go through UW... she is young and will pass easily)

    I called the Blue Shield local rep and she said that Blue Shield is the broker of record and that will never change. I can get 30% commission for 'servicing' the account. I told her to go %$#@ herself (well, not REALLY).

    I'm angry about this. They want 'us' to bring them business but they compete against us. If they want to have a website for direct buyers, OK. But when buyer wants an agent (probably because they screwed themselves by going direct) the carrier should just give it us. How much money are they REALLY losing?

    I told the rep that I'm going to GO OUT OF MY WAY to find a comparable plan for my friend from another carrier and advised her to not let the door hit her on the ass on the way out (again, not REALLY, but you get the pix.)

    The longer I'm in this biz (and it has been about a year total) the more I'm beginning to develop a love-hate relationship with the Blues and Kaiser out here.

    Just another reason to perhaps forget IFP and write either group health or (in my case) workplace supplemental products. (My work-sup carrier treats me like I'm a 'god' as does the 'group' rep of Benefit Mall.)

    I've been in sales all my life and this industry (insurance) is like no other on the planet in how badly it treats its sales people (although the car biz is close... as John P. and I will attest to.)

    Is it any wonder that young people don't want to go into the insurance industry? They hear the stories their older friends (or parents) tell. I swear that there is more sleaze, greed, and pure bone-headed management per squre foot in this biz than in any other industry I can think of.

    I'm angry. But you know something, after a while I will stop being angry... and will start getting even. :-)

    Al
     
    Guest, Mar 6, 2007
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  2. Crabcake Johnny
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    Crabcake Johnny Guru

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    So you're just beginning to see reasons why I don't give BC or Kaiser hardly any business? Don't focus to much on who has the cheapest rate. That's not always the best value.
     
  3. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy
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    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

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    Now you know why I call Blue Cross the Evil Empire.
     
  4. Dave020
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    Dave020 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Al, Cross will allow you to take the whole case in a situation like that. You just need a letter from the client asking to make you agent of record and stating what service you provided. I have moved several clients away from in-house that way with Blue Cross CA. One time I even got the wife who stayed on the HIPAA plan (kind of like a bonus LOL).

    Shield is a joke when it comes to that. I'll go you one better, when I first dabbled in health I did not meet some kind of production "quota" with Shield and lost my couple of clients back to them (nice, huh?). When I got reestablished with them and asked for my couple of clients back, they gave me 30%. I moved them over to Blue Cross soon after that.

    Dave
     
    Dave020, Mar 6, 2007
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  5. cadylou
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    cadylou Guru

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    They won't AOR here

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City will not change the agent of record on individual health policies. I've been down this road - they'll do it for group only.

    If an individual or family wants you as their agent & they already have Blue Cross, in Kansas City they have to basically re-apply & are then "new" customers again - meaning 12 mos pre-ex exclusions apply.
     
    cadylou, Mar 6, 2007
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  6. Guest
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    Same in CA. If there is an agent of record the only way for you to replace that agent (with either of the Blues (in CA they compete) is if the agent signs a release... and you know how many times THAT happens. The only way is for the client to drop the policy, go with another carrier, and then come back with you as their agent.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that most health carriers have their head up their ass... and they wonder why their clients hate them.... and why their agents have so little loyalty to them.

    The system is so broken.

    Al
     
    Guest, Mar 6, 2007
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  7. Crabcake Johnny
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    Certain carriers do have their head up their ass, and some don't. You'll soon figure out which is which and your life will be easier. 7 carriers write in MD. Only 3 will ever get an app from me and I don't give a rats ass what the other 4 offer in the way of rates. The value is rotten, customer service is horrible, agent relations is disgusting and they don't deserve my business.

    Again, stop honing in on what's the cheapest. There's few cases where cheap = great.
     
  8. Guest
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    CA is different than Maryland. We have a lot of competition here, but in reality not that many players... and none of them all that great:

    Blue Cross: largest, best priced overall, huge network, well known, huge in group and IFP.

    Blue Shield: not-for-profit, good marketing, well-liked, big in IFP.

    Kaiser: huge HMO, very popular, good rates, as with all HMOs people either love them or hate them. Kaiser sees agents as a necessary evil

    HealthNet: large HMO, everyone hates them but they write a lot of group because they are cheap.

    Western Health Advantage: local HMO, not a big network, excellent customer service, overshoweded by Kaiser.

    Aetna: coming back to CA market after being away for a long time. Very agressive in pricing and UW. Has a good sized network and good agent service. Not sure about customer service.

    Assurant: no one ever heard of them, no group in CA., not even close in price compared to other PPO plans... a non-player.

    Celtic: less known than Assurant, but has good rates. Only pays 10% agent commission on most popular plan so no one wants to write them.

    The Blues and Kaiser do a ton of marketing and most people think they are the only choices for IFP. However this is a very anti-insurance state (is there a pro-insurance state?) and I think that if you put a one-payor system on the ballot today, it would pass tomorrow. Everyone has a horror story about their HMO or the price of their group/IFP policy. If there is one state were there is a total disconnect between the provider of healthcare and the payor, it is CA.

    In this state, people believe that employer paid insurance is a right, not a benefit... and like Mass., it may come to pass de jure.

    Can you sell the exact same policy for $100 more a month in CA (ie. Assurant vs. Blue)? I don't know. You mention "Assurant" and people back off because they have never heard of it. We are inundated with media for the Blues and Kaiser... and no one in CA can think for themselves. Peer pressure rules here, IMO, and celeb endorcements are very powerful. CA if its own country and is just not like the rest of the USA in so many respects. That's sometimes a good thing, but not always.

    Al
     
    Guest, Mar 6, 2007
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  9. salpro22
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    In the immortal words of Mel Brooks from the notorious movie entitled, "Blazzing Saddles."

    HHHRUMMPPHH....HHHRUMMPPHH.....HHHRUMMPPHH....HHHRUMMPPHH
     
  10. salpro22
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    Which companies offer PPO's besides Assurant and Aetna. I do not know how much more the premiums are for other companies versus Assurant or Aetna (perhaps you could provide a few what-if scenarios for the rest of us)as a second choice, but it does seem close to what we experience out here in MD. Assurant offers the most expensive plan (i.e., excluding pre-existing conditions), but the old age saying you get what you pay for is paramount and the people who are 50-50 on HMO's probably haven't had to use their plan much because it has been my experience that the people who are upset the most are the ones actually using an HMO.

    You have probably surmised that I do not like HMO's and that is quite true because I do not being told what to do without having input and that is one quick way to quickly find out what a client thinks.

    Agent: Are you familiar with how HMO's operate?

    If no- Essentially, you pick a primary care physician as your main doctor to help you when you are sick, need an annual physical and if you need to see a specialist, you have to obtain a permission slip and get -preapproval. Let me ask you something, "If you butt hurts, do you want to immediately go see a butt doctor or ask for permission to go? I learned that technique back in the MEGA days and even though there is a lot more to HMO's, it gets the point across that HMO's are a pain in the ass.
    If Yes, what do like about HMO's? What do you not like? etc. etc..
     
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