This KC Transplant Loves Helping People Navigate Through the World of Health Insurance
By Robin Atkins
Shannon Black has lived in several countries and a couple of states in the U.S. and loves calling Kansas City home. Her parents are originally from Ontario, Canada, and she was born in Taipei. She moved at a young age to Taiwan, Bangkok, and Cleveland with her family until they eventually settled down in Kansas City.
She attended KU and credits her worldly travel as a benefit to her healthcare insurance business – JRS Healthcare Solutions. Black’s job is helping people navigate the ever-changing landscape of health insurance, and she enjoys focusing on guiding individuals, families, Medicare beneficiaries & small businesses through their health insurance journey by educating and advising on plan selections with the goal to minimize cost and maximize coverage.
“I think it’s very important for people to get out and explore, live in different areas, live outside their comfort zone and see all different types of walks of life … which you definitely see in this career. You go to houses that you know are million-dollar houses and then you go to houses that have been boarded up, but they have the same needs. You treat them all the same. The people in Kansas City have obvious charm. We treat people in a way that’s more global, I would say just because we see so many different types of people.”
Black’s desire to help people feeds her energy. She joined her mother Caprice Black’s business after a brief stint in corporate America. JRS healthcare specializes in helping Medicare beneficiaries, which is 65 and up. They also help with small businesses with two to 50 employees, and under 65 market, whether that means you retired at 62 and you’re not yet on Medicare, or maybe you are a realtor, or you don’t have employer coverage, right, or you’re a solopreneur. Maybe you’re just in between jobs, and only need something temporary.
“We see all of the various scenarios. Our services are vastly different, you know than maybe those by comparison to a call center. We don’t just take clients’ information and call them up and tell them what plan to enroll and then they never hear from us. We really focus on our customer service and being a free resource to our clients. It’s completely free to them and so we want to provide them with unique, customized solutions based on their specific needs both financially and medically and so we have to take the time to get to know them, educate them on their options, and then, you know, help them with their decision-making process as their future needs. It doesn’t end as soon as they are enrolled. We walk alongside them when needed. They know that they can call me seven days a week if they ever have a question or ID card or help with a claim. We’re really focused on building the client experience to help them walk through all their life changes.”
When it comes to small businesses and solopreneurs, JRS Healthcare solutions is a great resource. Options like the Affordable Care Act have changed drastically since signed into law in 2010. Black and the JRS team are consistently engaged in education that helps them to help their clients. This education helps Black to serve her clients with the most up-to-date information. Let’s face it, it’s hard for the average layperson to fully understand and navigate the plethora of options.
“I see quite a bit of confusion as to the options, especially in the real estate world where people are kind of left on their own. When they come to us in that situation, if it’s just you know, an agent, let’s say working for Reece Nichols, Keller, Williams, or a similar situation. Essentially, we look at all of their options in regards to the marketplace, otherwise known as Obamacare. We also will look at ministry plan options for them that once upon a time was an affordable option compared to the marketplace, but the marketplace has changed drastically.”
“There’s no penalty for not being in the marketplace like there once was, but there’s been an expansion of the subsidy and the premium tax credits. There was a time that an average individual probably wasn’t qualified for a subsidy. But nowadays, it’s going all the way up to the 400% federal poverty line. So, it’s not just low income people that are able to get help it applies to higher income too. And so, when we look at the marketplace, ministry plans, short term, and that’s kind of where we stay … finding plans that range from one month to three years depending on your state. It really just comes down to your medical needs and what amount of coverage that you need.”
Shannon Black plans to stay in Kansas City and looks forward to continuing to help people find healthcare solutions. She enjoys the charm of the metro and the people. She still enjoys traveling the world, and says that “one benefit of living in Kansas City is that it is relatively easy to travel anywhere in the world from here”. We’re glad that she has plans to stay and continue to help our community!