Offers advice, information on plans
At the best of times, health insurance is confusing. Add in frequently changing rules and regulations, navigating an online application and choosing between more than a dozen plans with various copays, deductibles and premiums, and you’ve got a headache on your hands.
A new business in Twisp — Greene Insurance Services — offers broker services and advice on individual and group health insurance, Medicare and life insurance.
Nicole Loucks, a Methow Valley resident for 15 years, is managing the Twisp office of the regional company, located at 125 Highway 20 No. 10 in Twisp.
“People want to be able to talk to somebody, especially a local person,” she said. “I know where you live, I know your geographic barriers … the different plans that hospitals even take around here. … It’s good to have somebody who knows your area and really what’s available to us.”
The Twisp office of Greene Insurance Services has been open for a couple of months, just in time for open enrollment periods for both Medicare and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
The exchange’s open enrollment period started Nov. 1, and will last until Jan. 15, though to have coverage by Jan. 1, a person must enroll by Dec. 15, 2021.
Medicare’s open enrollment for Advantage plans and part D drug coverage started Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7.
“Once it gets to the point where you need to choose a plan, that’s where you need a broker,” Loucks said.
She noted that organizations such as Room One do a good job helping people complete applications for coverage, but that her work starts when someone needs help deciding between plans and needs detailed, expert advice on how each plan works.
“This is something you can do yourself, sure, but the thing is, it’s really confusing,” she said. “Each carrier will have five to six different plans and there are all just little minute differences in each one and if you’re not thinking about your entire situation … you can choose something that might not be beneficial to you.”
Small mistakes — from picking the wrong plan to an error on an application — can mean big costs. Loucks said she enjoys helping people find a plan that can save money and still cover the things they need covered. She remembered one woman in particular — one of the first she ever worked with.
“Picking a different plan for her saved her $8,000 a year in her diabetic medication and she just started bawling her eyes out,” Loucks said. “It was so satisfying to me to know that I can really help people and make a difference. It really does make a difference to them.”
Loucks is compensated through commissions from insurance companies. Her services to individual clients are cost-free.
“I do all the legwork and you don’t have to sit on the phone,” she said.
Loucks first started working in insurance in 2014, just before the Carlton Complex fire devastated the valley. She said her experience after that taught her the value of having quality insurance, and understanding it.
“It’s not really about you. You’re insuring yourself, but you’re also insuring your family,” she said. “If something were to happen to you, to your home, to your possessions, it affects everybody around you.”
For more information on Greene Insurance Services in Twisp, call (509) 341-1252