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Here NAR addresses the current medical insurance landscape including issues and barriers many real estate professionals encounter in gaining medical insurance, as well as NAR's lobbying efforts towards making comprehensive medical insurance more accessible to small businesses and independent contractors. Finally, NAR introduces a new affordable and guaranteed-acceptance limited health insurance program developed exclusively for NAR members. The program, called REALTORS® Core Health Insurance, is available today.

The Current Health Insurance Problem

Despite a long-standing tradition of employer-provided health insurance, today more than 46 million individuals in our nation have no health insurance. More than half of these Americans are self-employed, own small firms, or work for small businesses.

The Struggles are Greater for the Self-Employed

In most states, the self-employed are relegated to the state's individual insurance market, where applicants can be turned down for medical reasons, such as pre-existing conditions, and there are few limitations placed on the premiums companies can charge (often making premiums unaffordable). Real estate professionals have found it even more challenging, evidenced by the fact that today nearly 30 percent of NAR's membership – more than one in four REALTORS® – have no health insurance coverage.

Why Isn't a Group Major Medical Insurance Program for Members Offered Through NAR?

In an effort to find a solution, many members turn to NAR hoping that the Association offers a national group major medical insurance plan. Although group health insurance plans are available to corporations for their employees, "A"-rated insurance companies have been reluctant to offer such plans on a national scale to associations for their members, particularly when the members are independent contractors and participation in a plan is voluntary. This is because of the complexity and administrative burden of offering a group insurance program that meets the differing requirements of all 50 states.

What Options Can NAR Offer Members Today?

To address the issues of those who simply do not qualify for major medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions or the high cost of premiums, NAR has developed, in partnership with an A.M. Best “A”-rated insurance company, the REALTORS® Core Health Insurance Program (RCHIP). RCHIP offers affordable, guaranteed-acceptance limited medical insurance plans for NAR members under the age of 65.

REALTORS® Core Health Insurance Is Not Major Medical Insurance

It is important to understand the difference between major medical and limited medical insurance. Ideally everyone would have "major medical" insurance, but many people simply do not qualify due to pre-existing conditions, or because they cannot afford the high costs. "Limited" provides the guarantee of affordable insurance but limits its coverage to everyday illnesses and accidents. In addition, the maximum benefits paid in each medical situation are capped. The table below offers a side-by-side comparison of the general differences between major medical and limited medical.

Important: This program includes plan options that offer limited indemnity benefits which are not intended to cover all medical expenses and should not be considered as comprehensive health insurance coverage.

Key Features of Limited Medical Insurance (What the REALTORS® Core Health Insurance Program IS)

  • Good Front-End Coverage
    • Little or no deductible or co-pays
    • 100 percent first-dollar coverage for most benefits (no deductible)
    • Provides basic medical coverage for everyday health issues
  • No Underwriting
    • A guaranteed issue program - no eligible member will be turned down
    • Next-day coverage available
    • No medical questions or exams required
    • Pre-existing conditions accepted following a 12-month waiting period
  • Rates
    • Plans are not age-rated - rates are the same for everyone based on state
    • Rates based on group demographics
    • Inexpensive and affordable for many people

Key Features of Major Medical (What the REALTORS® Core Health Insurance Program IS NOT)

  • Comprehensive Coverage, High Limits
    • Typically $1 million to unlimited maximum coverage
    • Great for major illness and accidents
  • Typically High Out-of-Pocket Costs
    • Deductibles
    • Co-insurance
    • Co-pay
  • Extensive Underwriting to Qualify
    • Underwriting time can take up to 60 days
    • Not available to many people with certain pre-existing conditions
  • Rates
    • Rates are determined by age, sex, location, and other demographic characteristics
    • Typically costly even for healthy individuals

NOTE: Like all insurance, the policy itself contains exclusions and limitations which are important for you to read and understand to determine if the policy fits your specific needs.