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Need Help Understanding Health Insurance? Work with an Agent or Broker!

Need Help Understanding Health Insurance? Work with an Agent or Broker!

Posted Jul 30, 2015 by Jenifer Dorsey

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.1

So how does one sift through all the options and arrive at the right health insurance plan, the one that balances benefits and affordability? 

Also be sure to consult with a licensed health insurance agent or broker who 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. 

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.

What’s the difference between a health insurance broker and a health insurance agent?

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. 

What does it cost to use a health insurance agent or broker? 

You do not pay an agent or broker for their services. Agents and brokers get paid commission by the health insurance companies for which they work. 

Where do I find a health insurance agent or broker? 

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? 

  • Get referrals from family, friends and coworkers
  • Use a search engine to find local agents and brokers
  • Use the National Association of Health Underwriters’ Find an Agent tool: nahu.org/consumer/findagent2.cfm
  • If you plan to shop a state or federal exchange, use the Find Local Help tool: localhelp.healthcare.gov/ — note that there are also exchange-based helpers who can assist you with the health insurance plan enrollment process through state-based and federally facilitated exchanges; these individuals are not agents or brokers

You can also work with licensed professionals by contacting companies directly. If you shop for health insurance and supplemental benefits through healthedeals.com, you can call 888-839-7679 to speak with an IHC representative.

Explore insurance options


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.” https://www.nahu.org/legislative/Agent_Value/RoleofAgents2013.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/legislative/Agent_Value/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/ 

Legal Disclaimers

1 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