Affordable Care Act
Here’s Why You Should Use a Health Insurance Agent
Published on October 07, 2015
VIDEO: How is an agent like a personal shopper?
You want a health insurance plan that fits your personal medical needs and your budget. You want a plan that you’ll still be happy with six months from now!
A licensed health insurance agent wants those same things for you.
When it’s time to shop for a new health plan for yourself or your family, working with a licensed agent can make a big difference. Why struggle on your own or with the limited assistance that most government-exchange “navigators” can offer when there are licensed agents ready to help?
In this article we’ll answer the following questions:
- What’s the value of shopping for coverage through a licensed agent?
- How do licensed agent and government-exchange navigators differ?
- Where can you find a licensed health insurance agent?
- Why should you shop for health insurance through eHealth.com?
What’s the value of shopping for health insurance through a licensed agent?
Here are three simple reasons:
- You can use an agent’s services for free. Agents make money through commissions that are already baked into the cost of every health insurance plan, no matter where you buy it or whether an agent was involved. A plan never costs more just because you choose to buy with an agent. When you understand the benefits of shopping through a licensed agent – and the fact that you don’t have to pay more for using an agent – it’s easy to see why shopping with an agent is the smart way to go.
- Agents make it easy to understand your options. Unless you have a real passion for fine print and health insurance terminology, it’s not always easy to understand what you’re seeing when comparing health insurance options. Licensed health insurance agents live and breathe this stuff every day, and they’re specially trained to help you understand how plans differ from one another and how your coverage will actually work in the real world.
- Agents are your advocates even after you enroll. Your agent is there for you even after you buy a new health insurance plan. Your agent can help you re-shop each year during the Obamacare open enrollment period, or whenever big life changes happen and you need to update your coverage. What’s more, your agent can serve as your advocate with the insurance company when you have questions about benefits or about how a medical claim was processed.
Now, let’s look a little more deeply at what licensed health insurance agents do and how they can differ from the “navigators” that work at online government-run health insurance exchanges.
How do licensed agents and government-exchange navigators differ?
Here are just some of the ways that navigators and licensed agents are similar – and also very different – from one another:
- Will you pay more to work with them? No, and this is true of both licensed agents and government-exchange navigators. The plan you choose will cost the same regulated price no matter where you buy it. Why limit yourself to shopping only what’s available at the government exchange.
- Can they help you apply for subsidies? You can apply for health insurance subsidies through government exchanges OR through the licensed agents authorized to process subsidy applications. Depending on your income, these subsidies can significantly lower what you pay out of your own pocket toward your monthly premiums.
- Can they help you enroll in subsidy-eligible plans? You may be able to enroll in subsidy-eligible plans through both licensed agents and government exchanges. In most states, licensed agents can provide you with access to the very same subsidy-eligible health insurance plans that are available through the government exchange in your state.
- Can they show you plans available outside of government exchanges? Navigators can’t help you here. Government exchanges only show you some of all the plans out there. If you’re not using a subsidy, licensed agents can also show you other Obamacare-compliant plans that will also save you from a tax penalty but which are only available outside of government exchanges.
- Can they make personal plan recommendations? Only licensed agents can legally recommend specific plans for you based on your personal needs and budget. That’s because agents are specially trained and licensed by the state to help consumers. Unlicensed navigators may be able to help you make sense of the government-run exchange website, but they can’t offer you personalized insight or recommendations like a licensed agent.
- Have they been through a criminal background check? In many states, licensed agents are required to undergo criminal background checks (ALL eHealth agents get criminal background checks), but this isn’t typically true of government-employed navigators.
Where can you find a licensed health insurance agent?
With the 2016 open enrollment period fast approaching, where can you go to find a licensed agent?
Online, of course! There may not be as many brick-and-mortar insurance agencies around today, but there are plenty of licensed agents and brokers online.
Just make sure that any online health insurance marketplace you’re working with is licensed to sell health insurance in your state. Larger private marketplaces like eHealth are often licensed in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
If you value the personal help and professional insight you can only get by working with a licensed agent, visit eHealth online this open enrollment season, and tell your friends too!
Why should you shop for health insurance at eHealth.com?
When you shop for coverage at eHealth.com during the 2016 open enrollment period, you’ll get:
- Subsidies: In most states, eHealth can help you apply for government subsidies that can significantly lower your monthly premiums. You’ll get the same subsidies you would qualify for through a government website, with a superior customer experience. Subsidies are only available for qualified applicants, primarily based on income.
- Service: Our website makes shopping for coverage simple, and we have licensed agents available to provide you with personal help and advice when you need it, at no extra cost to you. At eHealth we’ve been selling health insurance online for more than 16 years and we’re rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau.
- Selection: eHealth offers a huge selection of quality health insurance plans from brand-name insurance companies nationwide. In most states, eHealth offers health plans available through government exchanges, PLUS other Obamacare health plans that are only available outside government exchanges.
Why shop anywhere else? Subsidies. Service. Selection. eHealth makes Obamacare easy!