Hairstylists and eye doctors have a few things in common. There are independent and chain salons. Some charge more than others and quality can differ widely between low end and high end salons. Beauty shops provide services and also sell products related to their services. To contrast, of course becoming an eye doctor has a lot more schooling, and nobody ever died or went bald because their hairstylist didn’t perform adequately (right?) But what really sticks out to me is that there is no Haircut Insurance.
Little old ladies sometimes get their hair done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I can’t imagine what their budget must be for their hair care, and yet some people aren’t willing to invest in their eyes once a year!
I’ll bet the next big idea in the insurance industry is going to be Hair Insurance. You see, everyone needs a haircut, but not everyone actually gets a haircut, so that is the theory behind vision and haircut insurance. Yup, the hair stylists are going to have to suffer like the rest of us eye doctors. Actually, everyone will suffer, but first let me tell you how the insurance agents would sell hair insurance.
For a very affordable monthly premium, each hair-insured individual will get:
- A routine haircut on a monthly basis (with a co-pay), and when utilizing a participating salon, any additional haircuts will be 50% off (plus the co-pay).
- Any “extras” like coloring, bleaching, perming, etc will be contracted with participating salons to offer you these services at a 40% discount.
- A “Nail Care” rider can be added to your policy for a modest premium increase.
- Each policy will have a “product benefit” that allows them to get certain brands of shampoo, gel, etc. every other month (additional products may be purchased more frequently from participating salon for 30% off the retail price.
- For low risk individuals, baldness protection insurance can only be obtained by an in-person interview with the insured, both parents, and both sets of grandparents, and a blood test. High risk individuals can get follicle transplant surgery at a participating provider for an amazing discount.
Here is what the hair insurance companies will tell the stylists:
- If you become a participating salon, we will drive a lot of traffic to your door.
- We will reimburse you for half your usual fees, but you still get the co-pays and plus all this traffic we’re going to drive to your door, and sometimes people get their hair cut more than just once a month and you can collect up to 60% of your usual fees for any haircuts more than the benefit.
- You won’t make any money from the reimbursement on the first sale of shampoo, gel, etc, but since we are driving so many people to your door you can up-sell lots of people to additional premium products but only at 65% of your retail price.
- Since we are an insurance company, you will have to start keeping detailed records of every haircare encounter. If you do not keep the records exactly the way we want (and we are not allowed to tell you how we want them), then we have the right to refuse payment and fine you until you go bankrupt.
- If a client complains about a lowsy haircut, we will withdraw payment for services rendered until dispute mediation has occurred.
- If you do not send in the hair cut insurance claim forms with the proper procedure and billing codes, then you will not be reimbursed. If you call and ask why your procedure and billing codes were incorrect, we will tell you that by law we are not allowed to suggest the proper codes. If you try submitting random codes in the hope that you’ll find one we accept, then we’ll make sure you go to jail. We will not notify you for at least 30 days when we receive an incorrectly submitted claim form. We will not reimburse for properly submitted claim forms if they are received more than 30 days after the date of service.
Now here is what will happen to the market when haircut insurance becomes available:
- Clients will be forced to sign a paper before their haircut stating they will not sue if they think they get a bad haircut. Any dispute will be handled by 3rd party mediation.
- Hair care product cost and haircut fees will immediately double (and justifiably so because reimbursement is so poor and now they have to keep detailed electronic records of each haircut (client c/o hair being too long; wants to know if receding hairline and thinning crown area are good candidates for FRS [follicle replacement surgery]. Client desires “his usual #1 fade.” From previous notes I reminded him that he usually gets a #2 fade. He still persisted about wanting a #1, so after he signed the waiver, I proceeded with a #1 fade. I left areas around the crown slightly longer to compensate for thinning. I suggested combing forward to help with the crown. Advised against certain OTC hair re-growth Tx since they can lead to complications. I will refer him to the FRS specialist for consult. Co-pay is $10 and balance billed to Hair Insurance.)
- Most big box salons will not be allowed to be participating salons, so they will undercut everyone’s prices to attract those without hair insurance.
- Most people will just go to whatever salon that accepts their haircut insurance, but the salons that do accept it will go out of business because the insurance company rules are confusing so they never get paid.
- The salons that accept insurance and stay in business specialize in coloring, perming, and bleaching because that’s the only way they can turn a profit while still accepting insurance.
- Little old ladies will now only get their hair done once a month “because that’s all my insurance covers.”
- Most men will have flakes in their hair from the gel they use, but they’ll put up with it “because that’s the gel my insurance covers.”
- Most women will have dry, damaged hair because their shampoo and conditioner combination is cheap, but they’ll use it because “it would have cost more to upgrade to the good stuff. I don’t want to waste the insurance benefit for which I pay all those premiums.”
- Most people will go around with a bad haircut.
- Hair follicle replacement surgery will be advertised in the funny pages.
- Upscale salons won’t accept haircut insurance, and they will be the only ones that thrive because they center their business about the quality of their work, their salon environment, and their excellent service.