This blog post is based on an interview with Tanya Boyd, Health Insurance & Benefits Specialist and President of Tanya Boyd & Associates. It has been posted with her approval and permission.
Note: AB denotes AgencyBloc and TB denotes Tanya Boyd
I recently had the opportunity to ask Tanya Boyd, thought leader & President of Tanya Boyd & Associates, about the current state of healthcare coverage in the U.S. and how it’s affecting insurance agencies. In this turbulent time for healthcare, sharing experiences and perspectives is an important element in serving your clients and employees. Thank you, Tanya, for taking the time to contribute!
AgencyBloc: How do you feel about the state of health coverage in the U.S. today & how is the current climate having an effect on your agency and agencies like yours?
Tanya Boyd: The state of our healthcare coverage in the US today doesn't feel any different than the past couple of years. We've been in a constant state of confusion since 2014 and it it's only gotten worse with each passing year. My job is, and will always be to find solutions, provide peace of mind, and ways to change people's lives. My agency never rests. There is never a "caught up" time. We are constantly looking for ways to help businesses and individuals navigate one of the most important things in their world.
AB: What effect will the reduction in the open enrollment period have on agencies this year?
TB: It already has me planning ahead, thinking of ways to strategize and implement policies for extreme efficiencies. Each year we say it can't get harder, but it does. But each year we do what we think cannot humanly be done. I think it has its pros and cons. Again, we are never caught up, always planning and strategizing, and communicating with clients way ahead of time.
AB: Recently CMS announced that agencies will no longer be required to use HealthCare.gov, can you clarify what this actually means for agents?
TB: This is music to our ears. It's one of the most complicated and frustrating things to have to deal with Healthcare.gov. When there's a two page application that you can get done in five minutes versus an hour, it makes the process much easier for everyone. This is definitely a good thing!
AB: What are your greatest anxieties about the current healthcare coverage climate & how are you addressing those concerns for yourself & your agency?
TB: Premiums continuing to rise. Insurance companies & plans going away. We are always prepared for commissions being cut. But had no problem implementing a fee structure. We got over the fear of charging for our knowledge and consultation. So our anxieties are not as high as you might expect. Where there is a will there is away and a lot of businesses & people will continue to need help. More so as things change again in 2018.
AB: What sources do you go to in order to get the most valuable and accurate information on healthcare policy news?
TB: Oh my, each morning consists of coffee, and reading time. I always read the NAHU update, I love to scroll through LinkedIn, love me some Twitter, and obviously the industry newsletters like Employee Benefit Advisor and Benefit Pro - those are chock-full of valuable information. I also belong to mastermind groups, agent groups, and our local association. So much information is out there but these are a few of my favs.
AB: Overall, what is your feel for the short term and long term future of health insurance agencies in the U.S.?
TB: Well, we would all need crystal ball. It's always something that is changing. I'm scared for Americans. Concerned for lack of choices when it comes to quality care. Our health is something you can't put a price on. Short term, I continue to find solutions with a desire to help. Long term...well, I take that a day at a time. Or go crazy.
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Image Source: Tanya Boyd & Associates