When you are planning on enrolling in a health insurance plan, you will have many questions. The Affordable Care Act enables you to work with an experienced, licensed health insurance agent or an authorized individual Marketplace representative called a Navigator.
What is the difference between the two? Which is better, a health insurance agent or an unlicensed, government-trained representative? Here are four reasons you should consider using a licensed agent.
Reason 1: Licensed Health Insurance Agents Are Qualified to Help You
Licensed health insurance agents excel at helping you with your health insurance plan needs. You can feel confident working with health insurance agents.
They train and are certified for state exchanges as well as for private insurance companies available off exchange . An agent can provide valuable assistance, helping you enroll in a health insurance plan on or off exchange and their assistance is provided free of charge.
Reason 2: Licensed Health Insurance Agents Are Different from Unlicensed Government-Trained Helpers
Licensed health insurance agents and unlicensed Marketplace representatives have a few similarities, but there are also many key differences. Both receive training and certification as counselors for state exchanges. Both help to locate subsidies that lower the cost of your health insurance.
Health insurance agents and unlicensed government-trained reps also both provide assistance enrolling in a health insurance plan through the government insurance exchange. This service is provided free of charge.
When you have questions about the health insurance plan options within the Marketplace, your licensed health insurance agent is ready to answer your questions and help you find the right coverage for your health needs and budget.
Reason 3: There are many Benefits of Having a Licensed Health Insurance Agent
Licensed Health Insurance agents:
- Help consumers select health insurance policies specific to their area of expertise including location, network and drug formularies.
- Are able to recommend the best plan for you based on your health and budget.
- Can help you locate and apply for government subsidies to help pay for your health insurance.
- Are fully trained for the state exchanges they work with.
- Receive full criminal background checks.
- Participate in ongoing education in the health insurance field to remain up-to-date.
- Help you understand the difference between health insurance plans available in your area that are sold on the government exchange as well as plans not available on the government exchange.
- Working with an agent means you have someone you’re familiar with who can help with life changes, plan changes, and claim and benefit questions.
Unlicensed Government-Trained Representatives:
- Are unable to recommend a plan based on an individual’s personal health care needs and budget.
- Do not undergo criminal background checks before working with consumers.
- Are not required to pass licensure exams to demonstrate health insurance expertise.
- Cannot help a consumer with a health insurance company after enrollment occurs.
- Cannot help consumers understand health insurance benefits and plans that are not sold on a government exchange like the Marketplace.
Reason 4: Licensed Health Insurance Agents Specialize in Helping Consumers
By relying on a trained expert like a licensed health insurance agent, you can depend on useful answers to your Marketplace questions. An agent can also explain the benefits of plans not offered on the government exchange. An agent can advocate on your behalf with your health insurance provider, helping you resolve questions or issues.
As you can see, there are substantial differences between licensed health insurance agents and unlicensed, government-trained subcontractors. A major decision such as selecting the right health insurance plan requires the experience and expertise of a knowledgeable, licensed health insurance agent.