The internet has changed the way we do things. You can “Google” symptoms of a medical condition to get other people’s experience with the same condition or get a prognosis for the problem. We move to shopping online for things we need. Amazon gets over 1 Million hits per day with revenues exceeding $52 Million per day. That’s only about $19,000 less than Macy’s per day but with no retail store front. You can even go to PeaPod.com to order your groceries without ever leaving the house. The online world has made us forget about how complicated something is by the ease of finding the information at your fingertips.
We have the ability to access health insurance quotes and limited information about health insurance plans. At times we feel rushed or have time frame commitments so we make decisions based on these limited facts. We take in small amounts of information that we perceive as all the facts, however the reality is we don’t know any better. We get a false sense of security because we read some information and compare it to another plan. Now we go ahead and apply and we feel protected. Think again…
Statistically, people will only retain 15% of the information they read. To be quite honest, most people only have a vague idea about what to look for when it comes to their health insurance. Let me ask you… if people only have a vague idea and most can only retain 15% of what they read, would you trust someone’s judgment with that kind of decision? This is why a college graduate cannot just call him/herself an attorney. Even if you do understand the information and we double the retention rate to 30%, you still have a 70% likelihood of not remembering how your health insurance policy actually works. It is a bad time to find out how your policy actually works at claim time.
Now, what if you were searching for the wrong information? How would you know? Talk to a friend of yours that never had to buy their own health insurance or doesn’t even have a health insurance plan? Maybe you compare it to your previous employer sponsored plan? To drive my point home a little more… Let’s take a professional baseball player. Like in any professional sports, they are always making adjustments to improve their batting average. If they make a wrong adjustment they can be swinging the bat the wrong way. A baseball player can start making adjustments as soon as they start noticing the change is for the worse. Unfortunately, with health insurance, if we are basing things off of wrong information we will not find out until claim time. Claim time is not only the wrong time to find out how your policy works but you also may not be able to make any changes, at least for that claim. This can leave you vulnerable of thousands of dollars for something that could have been prevented if consumers first seek a professional.
The other side to this argument is “I did use a ‘so-called expert’ and I wasn’t happy with the plan”. My response is “Don’t blame me for other people’s failures. You obviously didn’t work with a health insurance expert.” Do your homework on the expert. The expert will guide you through their profession.
A quick note: Those people who say “I’ll try it out and see how it goes”. There is no ‘trying out’ in health insurance. “Trying” is like a death wish. Try explaining to your family that you are medically bankrupt because you decided to “try” your insurance policy out to see how it goes. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
In a nutshell, you wouldn’t ‘diagnose’ anything without seeing a doctor nor would you give yourself legal advice if you potentially would be paying 10’s of thousands of dollars. The same should go with health insurance. If you don’t use a health insurance expert, get your health insurance license! Then, study all the Health Insurance programs available in your state. After about 6-12 months of due diligence you will be able to make a well educated decision. Oh wait, why would you do that when people already have?