The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of The Fence – The Age of the Golden Goose
In the early 1980’s, group health insurance rates began to skyrocket. Medicare and Medicaid, signed into law by President Johnson in 1964, was beginning to have an unintended financial impact on the health care delivery system. Cost shifting to private pay plans began, health insurance rates began to climb. to new highs. Insurance companies embraced a new concept called “Managed Care”. PPO’s and HMO’s fought for market share.
As medical insurace premiums rose, insurance companies realized tremendous and lucrative cash flow opportunities. If an insurance company could make 2% on the float, it would mean millions, if not billions of dollars in profits. More insurance companies entered the health insurance market. Prudential and Aetna for example, redirected their profits by entering, for the first time, the health insurance market. And, more insurance agents, especially property & casualty agents, joined in the feeding frenzy seeking 15% commission on health insurance sales.
There was never a better time to become an independent health insurance broker. The sky was the limit, the market wildly free and unfettered, with unbelievable financial rewards for those that worked hard and long hours, day after day. Competition amongst insurance brokers was intense and fratricidal. Greed became a driving factor and honorable business ethics became uncommon.
After nine years working for a health insurance company, I stepped out into the brokerage world seeking my fortune. It would be an interesting learning experience, frought with dangers and rewards. I was entering unchartered waters, complicated by the good old boy system of alliances and unspoken codes of questionable ethics of underground operatives on the dole. I was about to make more money per year than I ever dreamed of making. Although I was “just an insurance agent”, I was to make more money than the owners of the companies I help to insure.
But, I was about to be hit with a seemingly unsurmountable roadblock.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Molly Mulebrier of Dime Box, Texas. This is a fictional account of the experience of a health insurance agent.