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‘An Arm and a Leg’: She Tangled With Health Insurers for 25 Years — And Loved It

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Barbara Faubion’s boss, an insurance broker, used to tell clients: “Listen, you don’t need to be on the phone for four hours with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Let us do that. I have a person.”

Faubion was that person. And she got up every day psyched to go to work, which she said puzzled her friends.

“They’d go, ‘You love your job?!? You spend your whole day talking to an insurance company. Are you kidding me?’”

She was not kidding. Faubion loved to win — and she was really, really good at untangling other people’s health insurance problems.

Now she’s going to teach us some of what she knows.

So why doesn’t every health insurance broker have someone like Faubion on staff? ProPublica reporter Marshall Allen has that answer; there are big clues in his 2019 story about industry commissions and bonuses.

“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.

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This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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