Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Ever Changing Covid Landscape

A couple of weeks ago I had a routine follow up visit with my family doctor. Everything was good (thanks for asking!) and our conversation eventually got to Covid. She mentioned that her medical practice had expanded their office hours and was now doing drive up testing on the weekends. "But we can do one on you right now if you want," she said. "I'm pretty sure your insurance will cover it if we do it here in the office."

That sounded good to me and the next thing I know she has what looked like a long cotton swab inserted down my throat. After a slight gag (apparently the sign that I'd had enough) she told me that the results may take a few days. A few days almost turned into a couple of weeks but I eventually found out that I was not infected. 

I was doubly fortunate. First, my results were negative, and given that I live in a designated "hot spot", I had resigned myself to the possibility that I could get the virus. But I was also grateful to have insurance cover the cost of the exam.

Getting a phone call through to this doctor was nearly impossible, so I had to physically drive to their office and ask someone in person for my test results. While there, I asked about the anti-body test that was available at a local blood drive. I had received an email from a local professional organization to come down and donate blood, at which time they would be conducting the anti-body test.

The nice lady, who wasn't my doctor but had access to all of my information, let me know that the anti-body test was not as accurate as previously thought, but more importantly to me, my insurance may not cover the cost. I was under the impression that it would be part of my "donation" of blood, but she looked at me like I was naive. I get that a lot lately.

The second reason I was grateful was that I still have my insurance. Unfortunately, about 5.4 million Americans have lost their medical insurance coverage between February and May of 2020. The nonpartisan consumer advocacy group, Families USA, found that the estimated increase in uninsured workers was 40% higher than the highest previous increase, which occurred during the financial crisis of 2008-2009.  The bottom line of all this is that more people are lacking health insurance that ever before.

As less Americans have health insurance, more are applying for life insurance, especially younger people. Those under 44 years old have posted a 3.9% increase in applications, which may not sound like a lot, but it is when you consider the financial pressure everyone is under. 

Many carriers have tightened up their underwriting procedures during the pandemic, which may be keeping older people from applying for coverage. Or the disparity may be attributed to the way life insurance, as well as over types of coverage, is sold. With companies going to a more digital application process, older folks may not be applying with an agent as they usually would. 

Our agency, Surf Financial Brokers, has tried to make it as easy as possible for everyone to apply for life insurance. People can go to our website and book their own appointment, at which time we give them a call, usually scheduled for 30 minutes, to find out what their needs are and what the budget is.  And if we can find a policy that is a good fit, we can take their application right over the phone. 

Let us know if you need help with your life or disability insurance needs. And as always, stay healthy!

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast.

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