In its simplest definition, a health insurance broker (also commonly referred to as an agent) is one who is licensed to sell health insurance. However, there are many other services that provide you that fall under the umbrella of selling health insurance. Here are some of the most important:
- Probably the most important fact to know about working with an agent is that it is free. Insurance agents are paid by insurance carriers, not consumers. So don’t worry about paying some service fees to sign up for a plan with an agent, because it won’t cost you anything if you wanted to do it yourself
- Health insurance is misleading, and an agent will explain it to you until it makes sense. Ask all the questions you want. Want to know what your impact will be on a certain plan? Want to know what that means? Ask!
- An agent can help you compare plans that you are interested in. When you tell an agent what you are looking for, they will reduce your chances and explain the benefits of each. They can check to see if your doctor and preferred medical facilities are in-network, and they can only see if any prescriptions you take are covered (and how much).
- As long as you have a policy, your agent is your agent. This means that you can have someone when you have a question or when you want to shop for a new plan. You’ve got someone in your corner, as opposed to just feathering and taking out a plan on your own.
Because I’m sure you don’t want to study here all day, these are just some of the biggest benefits of using a licensed agent to buy health insurance. It also does not include how much time and frustration an agent can give you (we will save this for another article!).
To make it more convenient for you, many brokers have the ability to access schemes that are both on and off-exchange (government-run marketplaces for health insurance). This gives you even more options. In addition, agents who can use on-exchange plans can also determine your subsidy eligibility which can reduce your premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Again, you are saving yet another headache.
Keep in mind a licensed agent the next time you need to enroll in or change a health plan — it won’t cost you anything, but it will definitely save you a lot.