Health insurance brokers are experienced, licensed professionals who can guide you – the consumer – through the complex task of choosing and utilizing health insurance coverage at an affordable price. Health insurance is an important source of financial protection that will provide you with peace of mind while it also makes medical services more affordable.
Many brokers are independent business people living and working in your community. They work with many insurance companies in order to provide the consumer – their client – with the coverage that best meets their client’s needs.
An insurance broker will:
- Identify your individual and unique needs and requirements for health insurance
- Research the market for available plans to fit your budget and your needs
- Identify plans that include desired medical providers, hospital networks or specific prescription drugs
- Assist you through the enrollment process
- Assist you with service or claims issues that occur after you’ve enrolled
- Review options, changes in your needs and pricing for annual re-enrollment.
Many brokers also provide guidance and expertise for employer-based plans as well as for Medicare-eligible individuals.
Insurance brokers are licensed and regulated by the states. Brokers who work with the state and federal marketplaces also receive certification with the marketplace. Certification with the marketplace requires that brokers undertake a course of study and pass exams to receive certification.
As a requirement of their licenses, brokers generally meet ongoing education requirements similar to that required of professionals in other industries such as the law or accounting. And, many brokers complete additional coursework, including a sequence of college level courses leading to a professional designation. These designations include:
- Registered Health Underwriter (RHU)
- Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC)
- Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS)
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
Insurance brokers are generally not employees of an insurance company. Brokers are often paid on a commission basis – an amount that is part of the premium that you pay. They may also be paid on a commission plus fee basis or on a fee basis. A broker will address the method of payment for their counsel and guidance as well as the scope of services that will be provided to you as a part of their initial interviews with you.
Buying health insurance is about much more than how much you’ll pay each month for the premium. In that respect, the decision of which plan to purchase is far more complicated than purchasing an airline ticket to get from Point A to Point B. And, once you’ve enrolled in coverage, the professional insurance broker is there to help you with issues that may arise after you’ve enrolled, such as replacing ID cards, helping you understand the benefits of your policy or assisting you with the filing of a claim.
To learn more about the many ways that brokers serve their clients, you may want to review some of the real-life stories from Brokers Making a Difference.