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In 2015, a trio of reports showed that consumers struggle to understand health insurance—and that lack of understanding results in selecting the wrong plan, spending money unnecessarily, and encountering billing surprises after receiving medical care.
So how does one sift through all the options and arrive at the right health insurance plan, the one that balances benefits and affordability?
Agents and brokers are known as producers in the health insurance industry. No matter which of these terms is used, one of these licensed professionals can help you with all of the key points listed above.
An agent can help guide you through the health insurance plan selection process, present you with a variety of options available to you and your family, and assist in helping you select the right coverage for your healthcare needs and financial situation.
“A lot of people are surprised by how much time working with an agent saves them,” said Jeff Keller of Copeland Insurance in Manhattan, Kansas. “And options related to healthcare networks and costs. There’s a tendency to look at premium prices as the standard for selection, but an agent can help show you where you will be hit with out-of-pocket costs and find plans that can help you minimize expenses all around.”
Agents and brokers are experts. These professionals have undergone training and licensure, know healthcare laws, pay attention to industry trends, and are able to help you put together a personal benefits package suited to your circumstances.
A broker works independently and sells more than one health insurance company’s products; whereas an agent will generally sell plans associated for one company. Agents may work for brokers.
You do not pay an agent or broker for their services. Agents and brokers get paid commission by the different health insurance companies with whom they are contracted.
You can work with a health insurance agent or broker whether you buy coverage through a state-based or federally facilitated exchange or in the private marketplace. How do you find one?
You can ask your friends and family for referrals, or you can use a search tool such as the Agent Finder available through HealtheDeals.com.
Simply enter your location, select a distance within which you prefer to travel, and click “Search.” You will find a list of options where you live along with each individual’s contact information, location, license number and website.
If no agents appear in your area, call us at 888-839-7679 to speak with a representative today.
HealthCare.gov. “Get Help Applying for Coverage.” https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/get-help-applying/
National Association of Health Underwriters. “Role of Health Insurance Agents, Brokers and Consultants.” http://www.nahu.org/meetings/capitol/2014/attendees/documents/CC2014IssueSummaryRoleofAgents.pdf
National Association of Health Underwriters. “Trust a Professional Insurance Advisor to Guide You Through the Maze of Health Insurance.” Brochure. https://www.nahu.org/media/tools/publications/brochures/BrochureValueAgentFINAL.pdf
The Wall Street Journal. “How to Hire a Health-Insurance Broker or Agent.” http://guides.wsj.com/small-business/hiring-and-managing-employees/how-to-hire-a-health-insurance-broker-or-agent/
 Mangan, Dan. “How Bad are We at Buying Health Insurance? Very, Very Bad.” CNBC. May 15, 2015. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/15/how-bad-are-we-at-buying-health-insurance-very-very-bad.html