I received a surprising call last week. A Cleveland Clinic nurse called me to discuss Medicare options for her and her husband. This was surprising because the Cleveland Clinic provides excellent coverage for its employees. She told me that she had received a solicitation from an online health insurer that referenced her employer and MyChart. She was directed to a website and Medicare Advantage products. What really shocked her was that one of the featured products, one of the ones you see pushed on TV, didn’t include her Cleveland Clinic doctors! This is what really confused her. I would have been shocked had I not received the same solicitation, also from the same online seller, noting that they had received my name from University Hospital’s Follow My Health. I assured her that her best possible action was to tear the solicitation into tiny pieces and throw it away.
We are used to the annual bombardment of advertisements during the Annual Open Enrollment period. The phone calls. The emails. And the endless parade of washed-up athletes pushing high pressure call centers. I am amazed by the money involved in one minute and even two minute television commercials. The cost to send unsolicited packets to our homes every week is staggering. And yes, we have even come to accept the violation of our privacy. Yet this solicitation, one that appeared to come from our very health care providers, seems to cross every line.
It is not this particular online insurance sales organization. They are no worse, nor no better, than any other boiler room operation. They are all selling the same products. Hell, any of us could sell the same stuff (many of us choose not to). No, the issue is that our health care provider sold our names and allowed their name to be attached to the solicitation. Does your doctor really want you to switch to the Medicare Advantage sold by Night Life of Nevada? Does University Hospital really want you to change your coverage to a policy that sends you to a different hospital?
The nurse was sharp enough to realize that her doctors and her husband’s doctors might not be covered if she chose the wrong plan. Any agent can tell you stories about clients who came to them after they had been talked into the wrong policy, one that had lots of FREE stuff, but not the access they needed.
It is time to ask “Who is selling my name and information?” And it is time to stop them.
Picture – My Letter – David L Cunix