HTH/GeoBlue’s annual policy adjustment took effect on July 1st, and Pacific Prime clients are seeing varying levels of adjustments as they have been made according to age-group. With this being the first premiums adjustment since the launch of GeoBlue, the new brand that is set to totally replace the HTH label, Pacific Prime's analysts are not surprised to see inconsistent changes; after all, the branding switch is expected to attract new market sectors. There is an additional air of excitement as the branding switch is actually expected to be greatly advantageous for the insurer during the changeover period.
The array of increases is intriguing. The rate that clients will be required to pay for medical insurance during the time of renewal has changed, depending on the age bracket. Clients between 0 and 39 years old have experienced stable increases of 10%, which is around the market average. For clients between the age of 40 and 49, premiums have actually been decreased by 4% on average for all deductible levels. For clients between the ages of 50 and 75, all deductible levels were increased only by 0.5%. The optional prescription medication (RX) rider for all age brackets has increased by only 3%.
It is quite rare to see such specific adjustments – ones that vary so greatly between age brackets to the point that some actually decrease while others increase . Though it's common that certain age brackets see slightly varying adjustments, with some being higher than others, having increases and decreases both within the same plan is rare. It is a phenomenon that Pacific Prime analysts can only attribute to the attraction of newer market sectors brought on by a change of brand. However, this is seen as a very positive change, as HTH's premiums have historically only been competitive for lower age brackets. The decreasing or constant premiums for ages 40 and above will not only help to attract more clients for new business, but the long-term competitiveness of the rates will also help to promote higher rates of retention for existing clients.
It is always seen as a remarkable positive for an insurer when the client hears on their renewal date that their premiums have not increased at all; hearing that they've decreased is an even bigger plus. To dissect the psychology surrounding a client's long-term trust with their insurance company, there is a little more at play than the positive effect brought on by the sheer dollar value of having lower premiums. Clients instil faith and trust in insurers that have the flexibility to make in-depth analyses of the premiums and make adjustments for the client, regardless if the changes benefit the insurer financially in the short-term. Since it's generally accepted that insurers will increase their premiums each year, when a client is informed that their premiums have not increased, or perhaps even decreased, the client will surely be content that it is financially rewarding for them. When clients pay for medical insurance that has been tailored to their own needs rather than the short-term needs of the insurer, a sense of trust is formed, one that ultimately benefits both parties in the long term.
Although the branding change from HTH to GeoBlue is still in its transitional period, Pacific Prime's analysts are still very positive about the effects this change will have. HTH/GeoBlue is incredibly unique in the realm of international insurers, as it's the only company that offers plans to US nationals. Having such a largely recognisable brand in the US as the new face of the company will in turn help to promote GeoBlue as part of 'Blue Cross Blue Shield', one of the largest and most widely recognised insurance companies in the US. While they're currently experiencing some of the teething problems typically involved with the switching of brands, HTH/GeoBlue are rather lucky – instead of these being drawbacks for the company, they have actually turned out to be incredible positives.