Ask Your Agent if This is a “Push Week”

I was at the gym the other day and I overheard a guy talking to his buddies about a plan he’d come up with.  He said “Next week is a Push Week, so I wonder if you could buy a policy from me and we could just cancel it the next week.  You’ll get all of your money refunded, so it won’t matter to you at all.”  (He won’t get back the $95 application fee though, so I think his plan needed more work)

I thought “Oh, boy”.  Being in the Colorado health insurance industry a long time, I knew what was going on here.  As I’ve said, back when I first started in the health insurance industry, I began by working for MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company, as most agents do.  We all figure it out after a short while and move on.  So I couldn’t help myself from offering up some advice.

I got his attention and said “Hey, do you work for MEGA?”

He kindof chuckled and said “No, I work for MidWest National of Tennessee, do you need health insurance?”

“No.”  I said.  “I used to work for MEGA when I started in the health insurance industry and recognized it when you said ‘Push Week'”.

He said “Well, our company is way better than MEGA.”  (They are the same company, both under UICI which just changed to HealthMarkets.)

So I asked him “How long have you been working there?”

“Oh, a while.” He said.

“How long?” I said.

“Um, ……. four months?” It sounded like he might still be exaggerating.  Four months sounds like a long time when you’ve been doing it for a week.

Anyway, he tried to ask me what I knew about his company.  I really didn’t know where to start (because the list is so long), and I didn’t want to be the one standing there ripping on his “employer”.  So I just let him know that he needs to get out of there.  When he asked why, I just told him he would find plenty of research available about them on the internet.

MEGA and Mid-West both have mandatory meetings for their agents every week.  There is the “top producer table”, where the top 10 producers for the week get to sit in cushy chairs.  And all of the other schmucks get to sit around the table in crappy chairs.  There were always about 50 – 60 agents at the meetings and it would feel good to get the recognition for your hard work and feel like a king in front of everybody.  There’s always some sort of bonus or extra incentive for the agents to forget about what they’re actually telling people and to just get the sales.  During a “Push Week” there are extra bonuses for the top-selling agents that week. 

Fortunately, this didn’t appeal to me very much.  I prefer to just give people a choice of their best options, make it easy for them to decide, and help them with any questions  they have.

I just hope I talked a little sense into this guy before he met with a nice family the next week and told them whatever they needed to hear so he could get his “Push Week” bonus and recognition.  Meanwhile, if one of the people in the family he sold the “health insurance” policy to has something major happen, nothing gets covered, and they lose everything.

So, if you’re meeting with an agent from MEGA (National Association of the Self-Employed – NASE) or Mid-West (Alliance for Affordable Services), make sure you ask them if this is a “Push Week”.

About Jay Norris

Jay operates a health insurance brokerage in Colorado, where he helps individuals and small groups obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Complimenting his work as a health insurance broker, Jay also provides data analysis and creates visualizations that are easily understood by consumers and other stakeholders in Colorado’s health insurance market.

Comments

  1. You couldnt have explained it better, other to say that someone with no conscience and a bit of greed can make a heck of alot of money working for Mega/Mid-West NASE/ALLIANCE. I pulled some time with them in NC and the set-up is the same. It’s amazing that what I saw was the regional manager hire people before they even had licenses….with the promise of wealth when they got licensed. Mis-representing the product was common because of a new agents lack of knowledge. Customers buy because of all the good features of these plans (ie price) but the insufficient parts of the plans could bankrupt someone as quick as if they didnt have health insurance at all. The local mantra at the weekly “sales” meetings was “well if they buy it, it’s better than not having anything at all”. This is true, but just think of all the customers who had great health plans that buy into these everyday because they can save $100-$200 a month. It’s a shame the Gallegos out in LA County cant bankrupt them….

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