I had a situation come up recently that reinforced how important communication is - in ALL of life of course - but particularly during the health insurance buying process. I can't stress the importance of letting your agent in on any and all health-related issues that the potential insureds either have now or have had in the past that might impact the underwriting outcome.

I'm well aware that it can be uncomfortable to reveal personal health information to a virtual stranger, but we agents are working for you, the client. Our work on your behalf and the recommendations that we make in any given situation are highly dependent on having all the relevant information.

In the most recent example of how this went awry, the client failed to tell me that she had recently had an abnormal lab test result. The application asked whether there had been any abnormal test results, and my client rightfully answered that she had. Now if there's one thing a health insurance company hates, it's uncertainty.

In my client's defense, I'm sure she figured the situation "was what it was" and it just didn't occur to her to stop and call me. And I had not specifically asked her to do so, so I can thoroughly understand why she hit the Submit button.

However, had she exited the online application and called me for advice at that point, my recommendation would have been for her to abort the application process right there, without submitting it. I would suggest she have a re-test until the results were negative or to have the issue taken care of under her current insurance until all related issues were resolved.

Unfortunately, she received a significant rateup (presumably) because of the abnormal test results. At this point, it's impossible to put the metaphorical toothpaste back in the tube. However, we do hope to be able to get her test situation cleared up and for her to be able to re-apply with the same carrier in the near future, so hopefully all is not lost.

The bottom line is this. We health insurance agents deal with this sort of thing every day and we can give some pretty darned sound advice that can save our clients big bucks. We are agents working on behalf of our clients, not on behalf of the insurance companies. But we can't fix something if we don't know about it. And I just absolutely hate it when that happens.