Health Insurance Agents Are Worried And Struggling - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Health Insurance Agents Are Worried And Struggling

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Health insurance agents and brokers in Texoma haven't been able to cash in a lot of money since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

"The insurance companies are required to pay 80 cents of every dollar just in claims which doesn't really leave a lot to pay for administrative expenses and pay the agents that service the American consumers and businesses," said Mel Schlesinger, the immediate past president of the National Association Of Health Underwriters.

Newschannel 6 spoke to an agent who works in the supplemental insurance market, which helps cover out-of-pocket costs that come with critical illnesses and accidents. He says that market hasn't been impacted by the Affordable Care Act and other agents have taken notice.

"We're seeing many people that made a great living at one point selling Medicare or major health insurance transition into the supplemental market now that times have changed," said Steven Guilfoile, a regional manager for Washington National Insurance.

Local agents say they're mostly worried about how the Affordable Care Act will impact Texomans, especially those who are young or own a small business. The president of Texoma Health Underwriters Krista Zimple said, in 2014 health insurance premiums for young people are expected to increase by 200%.

"Those rates that are going to raise for the younger people, they're going to be more expensive for the employer so they might have to drop some people to part time so they don't have to offer them benefits. Then we have people who aren't making much money because they're working less hours. You know, we don't need to lose jobs," said Zimple.

However, the fact that the health reform requires most people to have health insurance has its advantages, especially for health care facilities.

"The Community Healthcare Center isn't a political organization but certainly we feel that anything that enables us to provide care to as many folks as possible it's going to be a benefit to the north central Texas community," said Brett Moyer, the community relations coordinator for the Community Healthcare Center.

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6