Q&A - Insurance marketing emails

Justin Berry |

Question: Justin – I am an OHSU resident and I’ve been receiving a bunch of emails lately from people selling disability insurance. Most of them are saying deadlines are coming up and I should apply right now. One of my co-residents told me I need to talk to you about this before making a decision.

Answer: Residents being inundated with emails from disability insurance agents is not a new occurrence, but it seems the frequency of the emails has been increasing and the tone of the emails has been more fear provoking.

From the emails I have seen, most are inaccurate or misleading. For example, many emails I saw in December 2020 were telling residents to hurry and buy their insurance before Principal (one of the six top tier companies) stops offering gender neutral rates on new policies. It is technically true that Principal did stop offering gender neutral rates on 12/31/20. However, this information was completely irrelevant for residents and fellows. Residents and fellows did not qualify for the gender-neutral pricing even before this change happened. Only attending physicians qualified. The email was making an announcement that was true, but sent the information to people who were unaffected by the change to make them feel like they had to apply for insurance right now.

Another problem with these emails is that I have yet to see one that tells OHSU residents and fellows they have access to a GSI policy. I am not saying it has not happened, but I have never seen it happen. Many OHSU residents and fellows are not aware of the GSI policy despite it frequently being their best option (gender neutral pricing and very limited health screening). The reason the GSI option is often not mentioned in the marketing emails is because the people sending the emails cannot help OHSU residents evaluate the GSI policy. Only the approved advisor for the OHSU GSI can do that. I am available as a resource and happy to help if you want to evaluate your options.