Insurance Broker Vs Independent Agent
Insurance brokers are often confused with independent agents. Its easy to see why: Both work with multiple companies and earn a commission. However, independent agents make their money entirely from commissions.
Since both brokers and agents make a higher profit when you buy more coverage, they have an incentive to upsell. At the same time, they need to provide quality customer service to keep your business.
Independent agents represent insurance companies, not the people buying the policies, whereas brokers represent the buyer. Agents are also able to bind a policy, or provide temporary coverage before a policy is finalized and issued. An insurance broker will generally work with an agent or insurer to bind a policy. Before that happens, the price can still change.
While independent agents work with more than one insurer, they have contracts with specific companies and are often limited to selling certain policies, unlike brokers. On one hand, this limits your insurance options to those companies. However, independent agents may know more about the companies and policies they sell than brokers.
See what you could save on car insurance
Easily compare personalized rates to see how much switching car insurance could save you.
Types Of Health Insurance Plans
When purchasing health insurance, your choices typically fall into one of three categories:
- Traditional fee-for-service health insurance plans are usually the most expensive choice. They offer the most flexibility in choosing health care providers.
- Health maintenance organizations offer lower co-payments and cover the costs of more preventive care. Your choice of health care providers is limited to those who are part of the plan.
- Preferred provider organizations offer lower co-payments like HMOs but give you more options when selecting a provider.
What Are Some Signs That A Health Insurance Company Is Not Reputable
There are those cases where health insurance companies are not reputable and some cases where they are downright fraudulent. Scam health insurance companies do exist. There are some signs to look for to help spot these types of plans and companies.
- When a health insurance company tells you that they can give you guaranteed coverage with a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions are not ideal for health insurance companies to insure and if they are willing to insure someone with a condition, its usually at a much higher rate.
- Those health insurance companies that have extremely low rates compared to competitors should raise a red flag. Most reputable companies keep the same price range in order to stay competitive any company that is way below that price range may not be a good choice.
- Another telltale sign of fraudulent health insurance companies are those that say they are exempt from state insurance licensing requirements. There are a few companies that actually fall under this, but its very rare and not usually available for individual health insurance plans.
Its a good idea to read consumer reviews and be familiar with any company you intend to do business with. Use the rating and consumer sites mentioned to get a feel for the companys reputation. To help you find some reputable companies, use your ZIP code and search online health insurance rates today!
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Aetna Student Health Insurance
Why Is Health Insurance So Expensive
The driving factor for why health insurance is so expensive is that health care is so expensive, says Louise Norris, a licensed health insurance agent based in Colorado and author of The Insiders Guide to Obamacares Open Enrollment. The price of health care in this country is really high.
According to a 2020 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, insurers said the reasons they had to increase premium costs included the continued cost of COVID-19 testing, the rebounding of medical services that had been delayed during the pandemic and morbidities related to foregone care.
How To Find A Health Insurance Broker
When searching for the right broker in your area, look to recommendations from your trusted advisorswhether thats your accountant, attorney or another business owner. There may also be associations in your area focused on small-business health insurance. For assistance finding an independent and licensed agent in your area appointed to sell HealthPartners products, reach out directly to us:
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin:
You May Like: How Much Is Health Insurance Through Work
Check The Broker’s References And Record
Health insurance brokers are licensed by the states in which they do business. You can confirm that a brokers license is current and that he or she is in good standing by checking with your states department of commerce or with your state insurance commissioner. An online reputation search can also uncover important information about the brokers professional and disciplinary record.
Option : Buy Directly From An Insurer
The Health Insurance Marketplace does not include every health insurance plan available. Some people might be able to find a plan that better meets their coverage needs or their budget outside the marketplace. When youre shopping for a policy on a single insurers website, you will, of course, only see options available from one insurer. Youll need to visit several insurers’ websites to see all your options if you want to buy direct.
Affordable Care Act -compliant plans sold outside federal and state exchanges must meet the minimum essential coverage standards of the ACA, such as covering pre-existing conditions, providing essential benefits, and offering preventive care at no cost before you meet your deductible.
You can also buy non-ACA-compliant short-term plans outside the exchanges that may have more exclusions and fewer benefits. People who are between insurance carriers might think that having some insurance is better than having none at all. Short-term health insurance plans market their perceived coverage as an excellent alternative to ACA-compliant insurance that comes with lower premium costs.
You May Like: What Does Hra Mean In Health Insurance
What Are Medicare Agents And Brokers
A Medicare insurance agent is a licensed expert that helps you review and evaluate Medicare plans and their benefits, and guides you in choosing a suitable one.
There are two kinds of Medicare insurance agents. The first is the independent Medicare agent. This type of Medicare agent works with many different insurance companies and can enroll you in health plans from any of them.
The second kind is the captive Medicare agent. Unlike independent agents, captive agents partner with only one insurance company and are limited to plans from that particular insurer when assisting Medicare beneficiaries.
A Medicare insurance broker is quite similar to an independent Medicare agent. They’re not bound to just one insurer. They can educate you about and enroll you in plans from different insurance companies.
What’s The Difference Between An Insurance Broker And Agent
Theres a differencebetween working with a broker and buying health insurance direct from a sales agent. While both are experts in employee benefits, an agent represents just one insurance company and a broker is an independent, neutral, third party. That means they aren’t tied to any particular health solution, and their focus is onsoliciting quotes, reviewingoffers and examining a mix of insurance companies to help you find the best overall product, pricing and value for your organization.
Also Check: When Health Insurance Open Enrollment
So How Does A Health Insurance Broker Get Paid
One of the most common misconceptions about working with a health insurance broker is that your cost will be higher with the use of our services. But heres the truth youll pay exactly the same rate for your health insurance whether you go through a broker or not. There arent any extra costs or fees associated with working with a broker.
You read that correctly. Our broker services are FREE for you to use.
How exactly does this work? Brokers get paid directly by the insurance companies that they work with. Our costs are included in the companys monthly premium, so you dont need to worry about paying to use our services. That means that you get free, personalized consultations with licensed professionals to help navigate you through the health insurance market for the same price if you went directly to the carriers themselves. Why not take advantage of these added benefits through insurance brokers?
Reach Out for a Free Consultation
Several Plans To Compare
After getting to know the customerâs budget, needs and overall situation, brokers offer quotesâusually a short menu or a couple select options. These selections can include multiple types of plans from one particular carrier, as well as several comparable plans from different carriers. Brokers usually provide brochure-style information for plans they recommend and talk through the pros and cons of each option with the customer.
Don’t Miss: What Type Of Health Insurance Do I Need
Option : Buy Through An Online Health Insurance Brokerage
Online health insurance brokeragesalso called private enrollment websites or private exchangesoffer to help you compare health insurance plans or get the best available plan based on the information you give them. Comparison shopping is smart, but consumers should understand that these sites will not show them every plan in the market that meets their requirements.
Instead, these private exchanges will show a selection of plans that will earn them a commission if the consumer enrolls. They may display more prominently or provide more information on the plans that earn the brokerage a higher commission.
These marketing incentives dont necessarily mean the plans these sites offer arent good plans. It just means consumers should be aware that they might not be getting a complete picture of their options when they visit one of these sites.
Private enrollment websites may ask you for personal information that the federal and state marketplaces do not. They may ask about your height, weight, and pre-existing conditionsfactors that can affect your eligibility for plans that dont comply with the Affordable Care Act. The company behind the website may also use the personal information you give it to as well as their business partners to market other products to you.
As with buying a policy directly from a health insurance company, you cannot get premium tax credits if you buy your health insurance policy through a private exchange.
How Can I Find Reputable Health Insurance Companies
Finding a health insurance company that is well known for its products and services can be challenging. However, when it comes to finding the right family health insurance, locating the company that has the highest reputation can be essential.
If youre ready to search reputable health insurance companies you can simply enter your ZIP code and search different health insurance rates now!
When looking at health insurance rates its always a good idea to find the rates that meet your budget, but to also follow up with some research on the insurance company. A.M. Best is a great resource for checking out both a companys reputation, but there financial outlook as well.
You May Like: How To Get Free Health Insurance In Ky
Suggestions For Finding An Agent Or Broker
After conducting comparison research in the areas of price, service and a company’s financial strength, you may wish to speak with an agent or broker representing a company. Here are a few tips to help you locate an agent or broker in your area.
- Agent Language Locator. Locate an insurance agent or broker that speaks your desired language.
- Try Calling the Company Directly. A phone number for each company is provided at the beginning of each company profile. The yellow pages are also an excellent resource for local information on agents.
- Check the Company Website or Social Networking Sites for Agent Information. Many companies have an interactive agent locator which provides the address and phone number of your local agent.
- Contact an Agent Association. These associations will assist you in finding a local agent:
- Western Insurance Agents Association 443-4221
Choosing A Health Insurance Broker: What You Need To Consider
If youve decided using a health insurance broker is the best way for your company to help you get the best coverage at the most affordable price, you may be wondering how to choose the ideal partner. There are lots of brokers out there who can assist you, which can make it challenging to know if youre making the right decision.
Complete Payroll Solutions is a health insurance broker to thousands of businesses throughout the Northeast. That doesnt necessarily mean were the best option for everyone in the area. But since we know the key factors that make an ideal partner, here well educate you on what to consider as you evaluate your choices.
In this article, well help you find the right broker by discussing some of the biggest things to think about as you assess your choices, including:
- Compliance Expertise
- Day-to-day Administration
After reading this, youll be ready to review the potential brokers on your short list and select the best one for your business.
Don’t Miss: Do You Need Health Insurance To See A Doctor
Get Referrals From Your Peers
Finding a broker is like hiring someone to join your leadership team. Youll need to check work history and references. You’ll also want to understand the broker’s compensation. You can ask who pays them, as well as how and how much they’re paid. You can find insurance brokers near you by doing an online search or for a more targeted approach, you can get a referral from another business owner or a recommendation from your attorney or accountant.
Tips For Hiring A Health Insurance Broker
Getting help from a broker to investigate and enroll in a group health insurance plan makes sense for many business owners. A health insurance broker will identify one or more plans from different providers and determine which plans best align with your companys needs. Then, they’ll review their findings and recommendations with you.
You May Like: Does Burger King Offer Health Insurance
How Do I Get Health Insurance If I Am Self
If you own your own business, you can apply for health coverage through the Marketplace. Your income and household size may qualify you for premium tax credits and other insurance savings. There could also be free or low-cost coverage through CHIP or Medicaid programs in your state. Marketplace plans allow business owners to insure their children and spouses. Healthcare savings are based on an estimate of net earnings in the year you apply, not the previous years income.
Know Who Will Service Your Account
Ask about the level of service you can expect to receive, and if youll have a dedicated account person assigned to your business. The brokers role is primarily to find and recommend plans, help you choose the best plan for your business, introduce and explain the plan to your employees, and help with the enrollment process. Unlike a health insurance consultant, who serves as a liaison between you and the insurance provider throughout the year, a broker is less likely to be involved after the enrollment period. Find out how to get assistance and know the name of your contact person in case you need help with claims or with managing your plan.
Option : Use The Governments Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace is often referred to as the health insurance exchange. Depending on your income and your eligibility for other health insurance coverage, you may qualify for subsidiesalso called premium tax creditswhen you buy health insurance through the marketplace.
You can buy a marketplace policy even if you are eligible for insurance through your employer, and it doesnt hurt to see if you can find a better plan for your situation. You probably wont be eligible for subsidies if you have access to job-based coverage, though.
Open enrollment for 2022 coverage began Nov. 1, 2021. You had to enroll by Dec. 15 for coverage that began Jan. 1, 2022. In 2021, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the open enrollment period was extended from Feb. 15 to May 15.
State exchanges may have slightly different enrollment dates. Its important to buy a policy during this annual enrollment period because you wont be able to buy a policy for the rest of the year unless you have a qualifying life event like moving, getting married, or having a child.
You can apply online, by phone, or in person. If you need help applying, you can work with a marketplace navigator in some states, a certified application counselor, or in-person assistance personnel. You must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the country to buy a marketplace plan.
Why You Need A Health Insurance Broker Not An Agent
Before we get into how to find a reliable health insurance broker, its important that we talk about why you need to look for a broker rather than an agent.
Health insurance brokers are independent parties that are licensed to sell health insurance plans to their clients. They sell plans from a variety of providers.
Health insurance agents, on the other hand, typically work directly for one provider. This means that they will only offer you plans from their provider. They wont compare plans from different providers, which means you have less chance of getting affordable health insurance thats also comprehensive.
In contrast, health insurance brokers compare plans from numerous providers. By doing this, they can offer coverage options that are truly the best deals for your needs and not just plans from one provider.
So, whether you are looking for individual health insurance plans or ones for your business, do yourself a favor and make sure you look for a health insurance broker and not an agent.
Also Check: How Do I Get A Health Insurance Card