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  • Applying for an individual plan? Better be a Broker!

    I have a friend (I will call her Karin Korach), who is applying for an individual plan through an unnamed carrier (I will call it Blue Shield of California).   My friend is very grateful that she is a broker, because if she wasn’t, she never would have known how to navitage the system to find out any information on her application, much less solve issues that have arisen.  My (oops,  HER) tale of woe is detailed below:

    1. October 2010 – the application was completed online.   Long and complex.  On the plus side, easier to complete than most government forms.

    2.  Telephone interview completed.  Confirmed that memory problems exist that were not requested on the application by virtue of having to try and remember every doctor visit for the last 10 years.  Telephone interview requested from 19 year old daughter.  Not sure if my friend wants to know about the daughter’s anwers on alcoholic beverages consumed….

    3.  Called the unnamed carrier at the end of November for status.  Was advised that a request for medical records was issued at the beginning of November, but was not completed.  Doesn’t anyone follow up on these things???  My friend contacted her Doctor and had the records faxed to the carrier.  No help given by the carrier.  Thanks Dr. S.

    4.  After a minor tantrum on the part of my friend the Broker, finally got ahold of a very nice person in underwriting who was able to expedite the application on a 3 day turnaround.   Received a verbal approval from the phone rep.

    5.  The same day as #4,  received a letter requesting a signature for the 19 year old, and that her status was pended until this was received.  Made furious phone call to the unnamed carrier requesting clarification.   Faxed requested signature.

    6.  Received call from Copy Service assigned by carrier for medical records faxed over 2 weeks ago.

    7.  Called the next business day and spoke to a very nice rep named Rachel (my friend promised her a favorable mention in the blog)  who informed the red faced and frustrated applicant that it will be another 15 days at most until the signature is reviewed and processed.

    In case you haven’t guessed by now, the frustrated applicant is me, and this is my tale of woe.  In the grand scale, this is a minor mess and will be resolved.  However, as I was going through all of this hassle I kept wondering how an applicant without knowlege of the system and having the leverage that a broker has deals with all of this.  Surely my experience can’t be all that unique.  In spite of the unfavorable reputation of brokers today (think of the movie Groundhog Day), we do serve a valuable purpose to insureds, and potential insureds.  We can save others from dealing with the messes dealt by the carriers.  We can save you the time and frustration of dealing with applications, benefit and claims questions.  We can help you, based on the experience ank knowledge we have of the industry. 

    Isnt it better if we are red faced and frustrated and not you?

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