Written by Lauryn Gibas, Marketing/Communications Associate
“Don’t choose my own coverage? But Lauryn, why not? Spill the tea, sis”. The tea is spilling fam because if your social media algorithm is anything like mine, you have all of these online insurance “choose your own policy” ads clogging up your feed. Yes, I’m 23 and I still get stressed calling the doctor myself– mom, can you please make my appointment for me?– BUT choosing your insurance online is not the same as choosing an appointment time to see your physician. “But it seems so easy, I’m pretty sure I can figure it out”, well I believe you can figure out how to click what sounds good too but to actually understand the jargon or what you’re choosing, aka picking the proper coverage you need, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame, my friends. Without knowing the ins and outs of insurance, it is easy to overlook important coverage items that you didn’t know you needed or even existed.
To test out this theory, I tried choosing my own coverage which is what encouraged me to write this blog post. I went online and clicked on a “choose your own” health insurance policy, or what I THOUGHT was a health insurance policy… I showed some of my coworkers asking them if I chose a good one. Well, the first comment was “that’s not health insurance, that’s fixed indemnity coverage”. Huh? I thought I was choosing health insurance; it was even in the name of the website/link I clicked on. I mean it shows that I can go to any provider I want plus I get my own card, that’s not health insurance?
“Wait, what’s the difference?” Well, health insurance charges a monthly premium to pay for some or all of your health care services. Fixed indemnity (also called hospital indemnity) coverage is a supplement (add-on) to your health insurance, is that in the fine print? Turns out it is, just 3/4 of the way through the long 2-part, 20-something page brochures. I had no idea what I was hypothetically getting myself into – to reiterate what I’ve been saying, I know zilch/nada/zip about insurance; I’m just here sharing what I’ve learned (fact-checked of course) and offering up my opinion on the matter, as your pal with no strings attached, adding emphasis on contacting a licensed independent agent to help you. Had this been real life, I wouldn’t have noticed until the time came to foot the medical bill, all due to my personal vendetta about reading the fine print in anything, which I KNOW I’m not alone in, tell me YOU’VE read those long privacy statements you’re agreeing to, I’ll wait.
The kicker (for me) is that in this plan, I was also only allotted a small number of ‘covered’ physician office visits. The brochures fooled me by putting “per day” in the description of the visit coverage, I immediately thought “why would anyone visit the doctor’s office more than once in a day?”. Turns out, it’s once per year for one plan and twice per year on another for general visits, then 2 per year for wellness/immunization visits. I also thought when the brochure said “coverage” that meant the copay, which I was SO wrong about. It’s actually the amount they give you towards the visit making you pay the rest– giving me $65 for an office visit?! Thanks for the tank of gas, fellas. After my coworkers pointed out coverages (or lack thereof) like these, I knew that I couldn’t do this on my own. I figured I knew what I was doing and thought I looked it over enough to make a decent decision. As much as I tried being the ‘exception’ to the rule, I ended up being just another case proving independent agents right in this argument. I don’t fix my own car because I’m not a mechanic, so why choose my own insurance? I’m not a licensed agent.
This is why having an independent agent is SO important (wow, someone should write a blog post about that! Oh wait…I did), coming back full circle about who your agent is. Let an independent agent educate you on the different policy options to help you choose the best coverage for yourself, preventing you from getting into an insurance pickle (and not the good kind from the jar either). How are you supposed to “live, laugh, love” in those conditions?
Time to say “Bye, Felicia!” to those online “choose your own insurance” ads because having proper coverage under a licensed insurance professional just hits different.
Join in next week for the Gen-Z Insurance Tea, where I’m the CEO of breaking down insurance information so you don’t have to.