GuideWell Connect is currently hiring licensed health insurance agents to assist with the upcoming Annual Election Period. We sat down with Melanie McCloud, a licensed health insurance agent from GuideWell Connect, to hear firsthand why she finds her role as a health insurance agent rewarding.
How did you become a licensed health insurance agent?
I love the health care field and wanted to become a nurse. After going to nursing school, I got a job at a hospital but had difficulty with some of the physical demands during my clinicals. I wanted to find another role in the health care field that would allow me to sit at a desk but would be just as rewarding as nursing. When I came upon a news article about GuideWell hiring licensed health insurance agents, I applied and here I am.
Why do you enjoy being a licensed health insurance agent?
I love it, I know a lot about the health side from going to nursing school and understand it so I know some of the questions to ask people. I am able to really help somebody and look at their needs and do something for them. To me---I’m not just selling someone a health insurance product. I‘m doing a full needs analysis and putting them in a plan that works for them. Every plan I put someone in, there is a reason.
I also enjoy that everyday my job is different. Just like in nursing, where every patient is unique, every person that I speak with has different health care needs and I’m able to really think about what will work for each person.
What do you do as a health insurance agent?
I spend a lot of time on the phone. Calls are primarily in-bound and the goal is to enroll customers into a health plan that fits their individual needs. I find that people like when someone is holding their hand through the process. It can be difficult to apply for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) so often I help them call Social Security and can ask questions on their behalf.
What are some of the challenges people face that you are able to assist with?
Many people that I speak with are in health plans that aren’t meeting their needs. For example, a lot of people are in original Medicare and are wondering if they can get into a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or a prescription drug plan. People sometimes are frustrated that they’ve worked their whole life and they still have trouble affording their premiums. Others are getting penalties by not having prescription drug coverage. I am able to tell them about the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) so they can get drug coverage and / or get into a Medicare Advantage plan that will offer extra benefits that original Medicare doesn’t cover.
In your role, you provide a lot of education. What is the most helpful information that you’re able to provide to clients?
The single biggest problem for people seems to be their co-pays related to doctor visits and specialist visits. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of help for people if they don’t qualify for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). I look for ways to lower their costs or get them into assistance programs.
A lot of people don’t realize that there is help out there or they get nervous on the phone asking for help and don’t know what questions to ask.
As an agent, I can take the time to listen to their needs, ask them questions and even call a hospital on their behalf to ask about programs that can potentially help them reduce their costs.