By Alexander Germanis
One of the best-loved fairytales compiled by the Brothers Grimm is that of Cinderella, a young woman mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. When Cinderella flees the royal ball, leaving behind a glass slipper, the prince uses it to find her once more. A magical item, the slipper is a perfect fit for Cinderella’s foot and cements for her a prosperous life to come.
While we are meant to follow Cinderella’s story, when it comes to finding the right health insurance policy for yourself, your family, or your small business, it’s easier to identify more with the prince. We find ourselves scouring the figurative countryside, searching for the one proper policy for our needs.
But every prince has an aide, a helper who can locate the Cinderella plan—the right insurance policy that will fit you perfectly.
The aide in the search is Insurance Producer Pam Deaton of HealthMarkets in Bloomington. With 18 years of experience, she is dedicated to finding just the right health insurance plan for each person, family, or small business.
While an insurance producer is an insurance agent, she does not represent or push any one specific insurance carrier. Instead, Pam represents each person looking for insurance with only one goal: to find the best plan for you.
Unlike as with an actor’s or athlete’s and their agents, Pam’s clients don’t pay her a thing. “My services are free,” she proudly declares. “So, if someone is looking for an individual plan, a Medicare plan, or even a small business employer group plan, my services are no cost. I make a commission off the insurance I sell, but I don’t charge someone to come in and get advice.”
In an age of healthcare specialization, it’s no surprise health insurance agents are doing the same thing. An expert in her field, Pam specializes in health insurance only. “If someone comes in for auto insurance, I refer them out. So, I won’t cross sell you on things I don’t know,” she assures. “I have great financial planners and different insurance agents I refer to for things I don’t deal with.”
It’s About People
With her nearly two decades of specialized experience under her belt, it’s hard to believe Pam almost went a different path.
A native of Southeastern Wisconsin, Pam migrated to Central Illinois to attend college at the University of Illinois for a degree in accounting. Three years into her schooling, she realized accounting was not the right move for her and so she switched to business management at Illinois State University in Normal. As for how she ended up where she is now, she admits, “it just fell in my lap. I interviewed for this work after I graduated from college and thought, ‘Wow, this I something I can do!”
With the career came myriad benefits, of course. “I love the flexibility and I like the challenges it brings with it,” she shares. “I like the business social side of it—owning a business and being involved with the community.”
But above all, “I like meeting new people face-to-face. I love helping people.” If you’re calling an 800 number for insurance, they’re just doing whatever they read on a computer screen. They don’t care about customer service; because if you call again, you’re going to get a different person. There’s no personal relationship.”
That relationship building is what has made Pam the go-to person for health insurance. Last year, she had 3,000 clients. As that is admittedly a lot of new relationships to forge, Pam does get help from her assistant and another agent named Matt Sherman, who works out of a different agency.
“We’re going to be referring back and forth and tackle it as a team,” she says. “We want to make sure that everybody we have is going to get the attention they need, and we don’t want to get sloppy.”
There will always be time for the greater community, however. Every month, Pam volunteers for a not-for-profit. Whether it’s for Midwest Food Bank or holding a mobile blood drive, she is always looking for ways to give back to the community that has given her so much.
Guide and Time-Saver
Navigating the slew of insurance carriers and then those carriers’ myriad policies can not only be exhausting but also intimidating and downright confusing.
Pam is there to make the process easy to understand and remove those feelings of intimidation from the equation. That alone can be a herculean feat as insurance laws are so mercurial. “The laws change frequently, not even annually,” she confirms. “Because the federal government is big time involved with every aspect of health insurance now, it can be that last month this is the rule and this month this is the rule. Even with small businesses, those rules can change.”
Simplification is key. Explaining only what pertains to a client and presenting only the carriers someone is interested in is a good start. “I’m not married to any one carrier because I represent 200 of them,” she chuckles. “If someone wants Blue Cross or only wants Humana, that’s fine.”
This specification extends to a chosen doctor as well. If you want to stick with a certain doctor, Pam will explore only those carriers and plans that one doctor takes. “Your insurance should not dictate where you go,” she declares.
Plus, because she stays up on the ever-changing laws and knows the plans inside and out, she can put someone on an application for a plan inside of five minutes. “I try to make it easy and seamless,” she says. “Plus, I’m local.”
Advocate and Money-Saver
Just because Pam gets paid regardless of what plan she finds for you does not mean she won’t find you that perfect fitting Cinderella plan. Knowing the laws and how they pertain to you is what helps her keep your rates down.
“If you’re an individual, you can base your rates on income,” she puts forward. “And depending on who the governing body is politically those numbers are ever-flowing. So, if someone checked five years ago and thought the plan was expensive, the numbers changed since then and now you can get a more affordable rate. You just may not have known to look into it.”
But Pam’s work doesn’t stop there. An advocate for her clients, she will make sure you’re not paying for things your insurance should be covering.
“Say a woman gets a mammogram and it’s coded wrong,” she says. “All of a sudden they have all these out-of-pocket medical expenses. Bring in your info and we’ll get it fixed.” Pam will also fill out accident claims, make sure life insurance policies get paid out, knows what documents you will need and when, and what paperwork to fill out.
You don’t have to use Pam’s services, but it’s clear you’ll be better off finding the right plan and understanding if you do.
Prince, Meet Cinderella
The one thing Pam wants to reiterate is that it’s okay to ask for help. Even if she can’t answer your questions directly and needs a little help herself, she has access to the entire network of other independent HealthMarkets insurance experts who can help her find the perfect Cinderella fit for you.
But what if you’re a prince who might have already found your Cinderella?
“If someone comes in and says they already have coverage but want to see if I have something better for them, I always compare plans,” Pam says. “But if their plan is where they need to be, I’ll tell them, ‘You need to stay where you are.’”
For Pam it’s all about helping you become the star of your own fairytale—one in which you can live healthier ever after.
Pam Deaton’s HealthMarkets office is located at 202 Eldorado Road, Suite B2 in Bloomington. Call us at (309) 287-3518 or visit us on the web at www.healthmarkets.com/local-health-insurance-agent/pamelasdeaton.