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Health Insurance Agents Grapple With Healthcare Changes

Rich Pedroncelli / AP
 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The federal law has created millions of new potential customers for insurance agents. For the first time, people are guaranteed a policy and, they’re required to get one. But David Fear Jr. of the California Association of Health Underwriters says not all agents are pleased in the new insurance environment. 

“There are a lot of agents out there who are pretty upset by the small compensation for their time. And I tend to agree,” says Fear. 

Fear writes insurance policies in the Sacramento area. He says this open enrollment time hasn’t been particularly lucrative. He says health insurers are paying commissions about a third of what they were five years ago. 

“Some carriers value what we do more than others,” he says.

Fear says the job hasn’t gotten easier – the Covered California website malfunctions have been frustrating, and there’s a lot more to explain to clients.

“Prior to this, when you said you had Anthem or Blue Shield, just about every doctor accepted you,” he says. “That’s not the case anymore. Because of these new narrow networks.”

Fear says only about a fourth of the agents in his association are actively seeking out new business from individuals. An endeavor he sees as an opportunity.

 

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