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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.

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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/ 

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

About The IHC Group
The IHC Group is an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates that has been providing life, health, disability, medical stop-loss and specialty insurance solutions to groups and individuals for over30 years. Members of The IHC Group include Independence Holding Company (NYSE:IHC), American IndependenceCorp. (NASDAQ: AMIC), Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company. Each insurance carrier in The IHC Group has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best Company, Inc., a widely recognized rating agency that rates insurance companies on their relative financial strength and ability to meet policyholder obligations. (An A++ rating from A.M. Best is its highest rating.) Collectively, the companies in The IHC Group provide insurance coverage to more than one million individuals and groups. For more information about The IHC Group, visit www.ihcgroup.com.

About IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc.
IHC Specialty Benefits, doing business as Health eDeals Insurance Solutions is a full-service marketing and distribution company that focuses on small employer, individual and consumer products. Health eDeals markets products through general agents online, telebrokerage, advisor centers, private label and directly to consumers. For more information about Health eDeals visit www.HealtheDeals.com.