Clients may have some confusion about the COVID-19 virus. Health insurance brokers can help break through that confusion and be a trusted source of information.
That’s the word from Eric Wilson, principal of Wilson Associates, a Chicago-area insurance agency. Wilson spoke with InsuranceNewsNet on ways brokers can inform clients about what their insurance covers and help clients avoid possible COVID-19-related scams.
Wilson suggested communicating directly with clients on what is and is not covered regarding COVID-19, particularly testing and telemedicine.
Clients may not be aware that the nation’s health insurers agreed to cover COVID-19 testing at 100% as a preventive benefit, Wilson said. Insurers also agreed to cover telemedicine and extend coverage for COVID-19 treatment.
Whenever a crisis occurs, scam artists are quick to appear. Wilson said brokers should be prepared to help clients avoid insurance-related scams tied to the COVID-19 crisis.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if people start seeing advertisements for something labeled ‘Coronavirus Care’ or something along those lines to entice people to buy something they think is health insurance,” Wilson said. “Tell people that if they see something that looks like it might be a fraudulent advertisement, to dive in closer and find out what it really is.”
Brokers likely have clients who have been laid off their jobs or have experienced a business shutdown as a result of the virus outbreak. Some may be asking whether they can cancel their health coverage to save some money.
“There are certain bills you have to pay – your mortgage or your electricity for example – but in the days before the Affordable Care Act, you could raise the deductible on your health insurance temporarily and then change it back,” Wilson said. “We can’t do that anymore under the ACA. I had a client who asked me about that, and I encouraged her to weather the storm and not cancel her health insurance at a time she may need it most.”
Clients also may fear the spread of the virus and want to know how to protect themselves. Wilson said brokers can reassure them about ways they can lessen their potential exposure.
”Certainly, doing as much work as you can remotely is the best way to protect everyone,” he said. “But observing the six-foot rule is good if you have to be with someone.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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