web site needs a makeover

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January 5, 2016 by Tony Novak

One of my oldest and most popular web sites was updated today to be compliant with modern web standards. But in this case “compliant” certainly does not mean “pretty”. We considered trashing the entire site in favor of a more modern content management system but that project is put on hold for now. The revised web site is still downright ugly. It was built more than a decade ago and the original table based layout was outdated even then! Yet the revised web site is functional and compliant and addresses most of my consumer communication concerns stemming from the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Avoiding confusion

The underlying insurance product is issued by United States Fire Insurance Company. For years people Googling the name of the insurance company, or perhaps searching for the insurer’s name together with any toll-free telephone number, wound up confusing me with the insurance company. The new site design does a better job or avoiding that confusion.

Supplemental vs. primary coverage

The issue of supplemental coverage has become increasingly important in recent years especially in light of new tax laws affecting small businesses that opt to provide health insurance. We expect to see more administrative change ahead coming from the Obama administration (or the next Executive Office leadership) and the Internal Revenue Service. In the meanwhile, some tax questions remain.

Personal service

I continue to provide limited free personal health insurance planning service but make it clear that this does not overlap existing health insurance services. Specifically problematic are individuals who call to request help enrolling for coverage; I refer all of these requests to an agent or navigator. This hasn’t worked out so well because agents and navigators are slow to respond (likely die to work schedule overload) ans this reflects poorly on me for making the referral. The best option remains to enroll online yet I continue to hear many reasons why individuals are unwilling or unable to do that.

Revenue stream

I continue to split revenues with the enrolling agency that maintains a staff of nationally licensed agents. I personally maintain insurance producer licenses in all 50 states and DC and an appointment with United States Fire Insurance Company for this purpose in addition to errors and omission insurance specifically meant to cover this insurance referral activity. The income isn’t much after all these expenses but I still feel good that this is a valuable and much-needed consumer service.

Suggestions and feedback

As always, I welcome comments, suggestions and feedback in the long evolution of this Core Health Insurance product marketing and support.


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