Medicare for all? Can it really work?
Updated: Jun 8, 2019
by Dick Chelten, owner of Blue Ribbon Benefits
I’ve been selling Group Health Insurance plans for 30+ years, as a successful agent, Agency owner and General Agent. Health insurance used to be much easier to purchase and use. Not so, today.
I will agree that, since ACA (Obamacare) more folks now have health insurance. That’s a good thing. But the promise that, if you liked your doctor, you could keep your doctor, it was a lie. So was that you would save an average $2500 annually. You probably pay $2500 higher premiums, not lower. Oh, and your deductibles are also higher now that they have ever been. That’s not a good thing at all.
Ten years ago, my partners and I created a General Agency where we sold special insurance plans through health insurance agents in 39 states. We modeled our insurance product after Medicare Supplements (called “Medigap plans”). These are plans millions of Seniors use to fill in the big deductibles found in Medicare.
Seniors purchase one of 10 different standard MediGAP plans from lean to rich benefits. The best plans eliminate all Medicare deductibles and cost sharing responsibilities.
Do Seniors like their health plans? In a recent survey 94% “like or love” their health plans.
So, we thought, Insurance agents should be selling similar Group “GAP” plans to their Employer clients. Our recommendations were simple. Agents would suggest Employers buy very high deductible, low cost group health plans for their workers. Next, the employer would purchase (or workers would be given the opportunity to purchase) a Supplemental Gap plan that would cover as much deductible costs as the Employer or employee wanted.
Interestingly, when done correctly, two health plans generally costed 15% less than a similar old-style no deductible health plan! Employees would show 2 cards when seeking medical services, just like millions of Seniors do already. Easy!
I was so disappointed that many Insurance Agents thought it was too much trouble to explain the 2-card system and as a result, often neglected to present our GAP option. Unsuspecting Employers paid higher premium dollars and employees paid higher deductible dollars. Often employees even put off going to the doctor because their deductibles were too high! Just because their insurance agent didn’t educate the Employer on what a great solution Gap was if structured correctly. In fact, one of our most popular plans today combines 2 plans to yield a ZERO deductible plan for 15% LESS premiums! And their agent didn’t even discuss this 2-card option!
Finally, today’s political conversation has many people talking about “Medicare for all”. While there are several permutations on this idea, our Blue Ribbon Benefits 2 card solution is a great “Medicare for all” option and its available right now in 39 states (Georgia included!) where Group Supplemental Health “GAP” plans are approved for sale. In our Medicare-for-all version, an Employer just needs a Health Insurance Agent with experience in crafting these “Zero deductible” health plans. Do you have the right health insurance agent?