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Getting the right health insurance policy is a huge factor in starting the year off right or in successfully making major life adjustments mid-year. But given the abundance of options and the extreme complexity of the market, it can be challenging to find your ideal policy.
Using the services of an independent health insurance agent or broker can make a difference in your search for the perfect policy. Here are the top 5 ways in which a health insurance agent can assist you:
1. Helping you prepare for the decision.
Many times, people go out searching for health insurance with little idea of what they want their health plan to do except to "be a good plan" and "not cost too much." A health insurance agent can help you prepare mentally to make a wise decision.
First of all, your agent will ask you to gather information like how much you spent on covered healthcare services last year and how much you expect to spend this year. Next, they will help you break down the out of pocket costs left by each plan for someone in your situation and compare that to the premiums and your annual income.
2. Helping you save the most money.
Because agents are familiar with the ever-changing government regulations and insurance company terms that affect your options, they are always up to date on how to save you the most money.
An agent will know if you qualify for government subsidies (and if so, for how much), how much you can save through your work-based insurance group discount, and if a family member can get Medicare (for seniors) or Medicaid (CHIP, for children). They can also facilitate comprehensive comparison shopping to get you the best value for your dollar offered by insurers.
3. Assist with complex tax issues.
Today, health insurance is inextricably related to your income tax returns, both because of "the insurance question" when you file and because of the effect changes in income can have on your taxes year-end if you got health insurance subsidies that year.
A health insurance agent can show you how filing joint or separately can impact taxes and health insurance. And he/she will inform you of any relevant changes to tax law since you last filed.
4. Saving you time.
Another great reason to use an agent to help you buy health insurance is that it is simply convenient and will save you some of your valuable time.
You might, hypothetically, be able to acquire extensive knowledge of how insurance works and research all the nooks and crannies of the industry - but an insurance agent will bring you all that (and more) ready-to-go, saving you significant time.
5. Making helpful recommendations.
Government navigators at the health insurance marketplace can't legally show you any plans outside the exchange or even make a recommendation to you on which on-exchange plan to choose. Agents can.
Make sure you use an independent health insurance agent or a health insurance broker and not a company-bound agent who can only recommend plans from a single insurer. Brokers/agents won't tell you which plan to choose, but they can help clarify things for you and give a recommendation or two if you ask for one.
Thinking about buying your next health plan soon? Don't go it alone! Talk to an experienced independent health insurance agent at Summerlin Benefits Consulting today for a free consultation!