In a week during which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paints private health insurers with a broad brush, claiming they oppose government health care because “they don’t want the competition”,* I am realizing the benefits of that competition, finally canceling an HMO with one carrier which, just in the past five years doubled my premiums.
I have found a new plan with another carrier, 45% less expensive than my old plan. Yes, I’ll have to pay more for doctor visits, but given how infrequently I go to the doctor, I’ll still be saving a lot (a real lot) of money. And I even have dental coverage with my new plan, something I did not have with my old carrier.
Had I gone to an insurance broker earlier than I had, I could have saved as much as $5,000 over the past four years alone. My mistake was not realizing the extent of the industry competition and only trying to get a new plan with my old carrier. Only when I discussed my options with a friend who happens to be an insurance broker (whom I owe a steak dinner–more on this anon) did I realize the options available to me.
It seems that many of those who, like Mrs. Pelosi, decry the health insurance industry are unaware of the choices we have.
Below the “jump,” with some information redacted, I include the text of the letter I sent to my old carrier canceling my policy:
Dear Sir or Madam:
It is with great pleasure that I write, asking you to cancel my insurance policy, ID# XXXXXXX, effective August 1, 2009.
It is in large part due to the treatment I received from your company all over the past eight years that insurance companies are unfortunately is disfavor with many Americans. You regularly increased the cost of a premium on a plan which was entirely inappropriate for a man as healthy as myself and directed me to doctors effectively incompetent to treat me.
When, three years ago, I called to try to change plans to something giving me greater choices (even if I would have to pay more for individual doctor visits) than my HMO, your agents only directed me to more expensive plans.
If your focus were on customer service as a means to profit and not customers as a means of profit, you might actually see your profits increase. (If you are at all interested by what I mean with that sentence, I would be delighted to explain.)
The long and short of it is this. I had been overpaying for my health insurance for the past eight years and only recently became aware of the extent of competition in the industry, a competition I (like your management—I hope) wish to see continue.
Thanks to that competition (and the assistance of a competent insurance broker), I have found a far less expensive plan, better suited to my health care needs. Had your associates been able to direct me to such a plan at your company, I would remain your client, regularly paying my premiums as I have for eight years.