Health Insurance. Why Not?

J Philip Faranda February 15, 2009

Why can’t the hundreds of thousands of NAR members who have to pay for our health insurance as individuals pool our buying power together and get group coverage? I pay $1200 per month for my family’s coverage. We are on our 5th or so insurance company since were were married in 2001 and this is our 2nd go-round with Blue Cross. What an odyssey.

Most if not all real estate licensees are self employed independent contractors. Some of us are married to teachers, union members, and corporate types who have health insurance with their jobs. For those us us who aren’t, we have to pay for health insurance as a small independent business. And we pay through the nose for that health insurance. The NAR has about one million members. Many in our ranks have married our health insurance, so they are fine. What about the rest of us?

My question, isn’t original or new but it isn’t asked enough. Why can’t the hundreds of thousands of NAR members who have to pay for our health insurance as individuals pool our buying power together and get group coverage?

I appreciate what the NAR PAC does on the legislative level. I do benefit from the affinity program discounts and benefits. They offer help with auto and E & O insurance. Good stuff all. But isn’t something wrong with this picture when I pay 1200 clams every month, Joe Blow Realty down the street pays the same, and all the others in town buy the same product and we can’t get a dime’s leverage from our collective buying power? We DO have buying power, do we not? Hell the Long Island Board of REALTORS have their own CREDIT UNION. NYSAR has an endorsed health insurer but every time we’ve looked into it their premium has been the same for REALTORS as for anyone else in the public (we wouldn’t save a dime with them- we’d lose, actually). And when we had GHI ( a prior incarnation of the endorsed) they stunk. 

At the risk of sounding like Dr. Evil, we have ONE MILLION members. That is gigantic buying power, even if parsed down to the state level. I’m all for rent a car discounts, but we can do better.

I want my trade association to do more about this crucial necessity. I pay dues, Lord knows they hold me to high standards, and not enough of us are making noise about this.

I’ll repeat that. Not enough NAR members are making noise about this.  Health insurance is a big deal.

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