Why You May (or May Not) Need a Health Insurance Broker

A health insurance broker can take the guesswork out of buying an insurance plan. Is using a broker the right decision for you?

A health insurance broker can take the guesswork out of buying an insurance plan. Is using a broker the right decision for you?

It’s that time of year again; you’re looking for a new health plan and you’re wondering if working with a broker is necessary or not. Being a person who doesn’t easily make decisions (google chronic indecisiveness), it’s hard for me to decide where to eat, let alone which health care plan is best for me. This, of course, isn’t the case for everyone. Regardless, choosing a plan is a pretty big deal and we should be picking a plan we are going to be happy with months down the line. This is where a broker may come in handy.

Let’s backtrack a little bit. A licensed health insurance broker is trained and licensed by their respective state and is legally the only individual who can personally recommend a health plan for you (kind of like how only licensed real estate agents can sell homes). It never costs more to purchase a plan through a broker since their commission is already included in the plan costs. Your premiums will always be at a set cost, no matter if you buy it on your own or through a broker. Generally speaking, health insurance brokers charge their own separate one-time fee aside from what comes embedded in the health care plan’s cost. If you’re looking for assistance free of charge, most health care marketplaces have “navigators” who can help guide you but won’t be able to recommend a plan. Of course, there’s also JOANY. JOANY is quick, it’s easy, it’s accommodating, and you guessed it - it’s free.

So how do you know if you need a broker? We’re in the era where it seems like everything is a Siri question away, but this one may be a little more complicated. Health care plans vary widely in what procedures and services they cover, deductibles, premiums, which providers are covered, etc. If your head is already spinning, finding out what these words mean isn’t particularly difficult, but some folks might want a total breakdown of all the jargon - we will be paying for this monthly and let’s face it, it’s pretty important to know. It’s not uncommon that health concerns pop up, only to reveal that what is needed isn’t actually covered.

Health insurance brokers are trained to help match clients to health coverage that covers exactly or as close to what the client is looking for while keeping their budget in mind. They’re like personal shoppers, in a sense. For instance, do you have a specific medication you take that you want to make sure is covered so you’re not paying an arm and a leg for it? Do you have dependents you’re looking to cover who also have specificities you want to make sure are covered? Do you plan on having a procedure done in the near future? What plan is going to fit within your budget when you consider monthly costs and medications, co-pays, and everything else that comes along with your personal health? These are the types of questions that can very well be answered by some hardcore research sessions on your own, or you can let the pros do what they do best.

What it comes down to is pretty simple: do you know what you need and do you have the time and resources to find this? If your answer is yes, more than likely you’re going to be able to find the best plan for you. If the time or resources are short, you may want to head to a broker where you’ll pretty much get to give your information and let the broker do the work for you.

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