In 2008, Tom Law walked into a HealthMarkets office looking for an alternative to the $1,400 a month he was paying for his family's health insurance while on COBRA. "I came in to buy a policy and got hired," he recalls, not long after his contact recognized that he would be a good fit for the company.
Fourteen years later, Law, 55, heads up one HealthMarkets' Middle Tennessee offices and has upwards of 25 agents on his team. "HealthMarkets is the largest set of feet on the street for individuals and small businesses looking for health insurance and Medicare.
We are a brokerage based out of Texas and have three-thousand agents throughout the country," he explains, before noting that HeathMarkets caters to everyone from individuals to families to small business owners. "That self-employed young professional is a great candidate for us, as are people who are taking an early retirement and need something to bridge the gap until Uncle Sam kicks in at age 65.
We write them a health plan to get them there, and then we will sit down with them and do the Medicare as well," he says, before noting that HealthMarkets can also help with life insurance and supplemental insurance, not to mention small group policies for small businesses. That said, Law doesn't spend his time "selling" per se; he invests a lot of time educating people about potential solutions and helping them understand what they are buying, particularly as health insurance is concerned. "The Affordable Care Act has confused a lot of people. It's job security for me, is what I jokingly tell people. You can make a mistake real quick if you try to do it by yourself. Friends don't let friends go to healthcare.gov," he says with a laugh.
That's why he and his agents ask many questions when potential clients come in for free consults. "Do you need unlimited doctor's visits because you have a bunch of preexisting conditions? Do you need the best pharmacy coverage because you take expensive meds? If so, we'll address that and take a step up. If not, there's no reason to pay for it," he says, illustrating a few of the considerations that can come into play. Notably, income limitations aren't necessarily a barrier to getting health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and how it can help facilitate getting coverage.
"For folks making $20,000 per year, we can get the policies for almost nothing because (the policies) are subsidized so well," says Law, who says that clients often have money left over for dental, vision, and life insurance. "They are out the door for half of what they (were) paying for group insurance, and they get a whole lot more to show for it." As for folks who think they can't afford, say, life insurance, Law encourages people to think about how a daily cup of coffee at Starbucks might be roughly equivalent to the cost of a policy. If he has one bit of advice for people, it's to make sure you understand the policies you are purchasing. "So many times, I sit down with folks and ask what insurance they have, and they can't tell me what their coverage does," he says.
"Insurance is hard for the person selling and for the person buying because it's not tangible. It's something you're buying sight unseen. We have to educate people and shake them a little bit to help them understand: This is why you need this." Yet, more and more people recognize the importance of having health, life, and supplemental insurance in these challenging times.
"Thanks to COVID-19, people are more open to these conversations than they ever have been," relates Law, who admits that before moving from Texas to Tennessee in 2007, he couldn't have imagined himself helping people with insurance. Now he can't imagine doing anything else—or living elsewhere. "There is an entrepreneur spirit that goes through Williamson Country, and folks appreciate what we bring to the table because it fits their lifestyle," he says.
Never mind that the Brentwood/Franklin area is also a wonderful place to raise a family, with Law having raised four kids with his wife of 31 years, three of whom now work alongside him at HealthMarkets. "It's fun that we get to help people every day," concludes Law, before reminding that HealthMarkets doesn't charge clients for its services, as the brokerage gets compensated by the carriers for the products it writes.
"If we do your job right, then clients are walking out saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!'" he concludes. "Before coming to us, they didn't know what they were getting."
For more information: Tom Law's office is located at 215 Centerview Dr., Ste. 100 Brentwood, or visit: https://www.healthmarkets.com/local-health-insurance-agent/tomlaw/