How To Choose A Health Insurance Agent
Finding the best health insurance plan can often prove to be quite a chore without the assistance of a professional. Many people have had their health coverage set in motion by their employer with little or no effort on their own part for the majority of their working career. When someone strikes out on their own, or finds themselves with a job that doesn’t offer a health insurance package, people can find themselves swamped with an unfamiliar world of individual health insurance jargon that is often indecipherable to those without proper training.
A good health insurance agent will help you make an informed decision and find a policy that will best meet your needs. It’s fairly easy to find an insurance agent in this day and age of quick internet searches, but not all health insurance agents are of the same caliber. Here are some tips for choosing the right health insurance agent:
The first important thing to keep in mind is that you really are better off by having a health insurance agent versus trying to go it alone. Many people make the assumption that choosing to work directly with an insurance company will save them money. But it is against the law for an insurance company to show a lower health insurance rate depending on where or from whom you bought the policy from. In other words, you will pay the same rate whether you purchase a policy from Bob Smith Insurance Agency down the street, an online health insurance agency, or directly from the insurance company. In fact, if you choose to purchase directly from the insurance company, you lose a valuable resource to help you to search for and understand your policy. Also, the insurance company doesn’t give you a lower rate – they simply keep the commission that they would have paid the insurance agent had the agent sold you the policy. Always remember, shopping for health insurance is not like buying a used car. You cannot receive a “special deal”. You can find cheap health insurance if you know where to look – you just won’t be able to save any money by purchasing direct versus using an agent!
That being said, you should immediately steer clear of any health insurance agent that makes promises of being able to cut you a “special deal”. Your insurance rates are based on a number of factors, none of them being how you buy your policy. Factors such as your home zip code, your date of birth, and whether you smoke or not, among other elements, can influence your rates. Some insurance agents will stoop to the unethical practice of “lowballing”. “Lowballing” is when the insurance agent will show you a rate quote that is based on incorrect information; it falsely makes your rate appear lower than it should be.
For example, an agent may try to fool you into purchasing health insurance from them by changing your age from 42 to 39, which will of course make your rate much lower. Watch out for these types of tricks, because when you actually submit your application with the correct information, your rate will be adjusted upward to its correct level.
Honesty is something that is very important to look for in a health insurance agent. Coming in a close second to honesty is independence. Your agent should be independent and want to help you best meet your insurance needs – not just a salesman only interested in pushing one particular insurance company’s products on you.
There are two main types of health insurance agents: independent agents and captive agents. Independent insurance agents can work with many different health insurance companies and will typically show you plans and rates from more than one insurance company. A captive insurance agent can only work with one insurance company, and will only show you rates from the insurance company they represent – whether that particular company happens to have the best policy for your specific situation or not.
Another big advantage to working with an independent health insurance agent is that you will be able to remain a lifetime client. As your health insurance needs change over time, your independent agent will be able to continually review and re-evaluate different insurance company’s offers and rates on an ongoing basis. Since health insurance rates change often, and you typically are only able to lock in your rate for 12 months, it’s ideal to shop with the same agent every year to save money.
Here at iWebQuotes, we provide you with a way to compare multiple agents by requesting a free health insurance quote from multiple health insurance agents. When you submit a quote request, this request will go to 2 or 3 agents, who will then propose to you what they feel will best suit your needs. Choose the health insurance agent which you feel is working in your best interest, and you will be well on your way to finding a low cost and comprehensive health insurance plan! Click here to be connected to a licensed agent in your area.