Hint: They’re probably your new bestie. Allow us to explain. A health insurance broker is a licensed benefits pro who can help you research, buy, set up, and manage your health insurance experience from start to finish. Now, let’s open our books and get a quick lesson on health insurance brokers 101.
Brokers exist in lots of professions: Insurance, finance, real estate, and more. However, health insurance brokers are a different stripe altogether. Their job is to educate and advise you on your plan selection to help you lower your risk and make wise decisions. Whether it’s a great network, affordable price, or something else, they use your qualifications as their guiding light. They don’t have to be married to a particular company or plan type, since their goal is finding you exactly what you need. While they do make a commission, insurance brokers are typically independent agencies who work with multiple insurance companies.
While they only need to be licensed to sell health insurance, many brokers have taken a series of college-level courses and received as many as five professional certifications. Therefore, they’re pretty well-prepared to guide you through the health insurance journey. Like teachers, they’re licensed and regulated by state insurance departments and are usually required to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. In a nutshell, you can trust a licensed broker.
How do I find a broker?
There are countless health insurance brokers out there, just waiting to help you out. You can discover a broker in a few different places:
- A benefits service like Gusto
- The National Association of Health Underwriters database
- The Local Help database from HealthCare.gov
- Referrals from other business owners
Gusto is an HR service that pairs you with real-world health insurance brokers. Each broker’s goal is to help you select the best health plan for your business and guide you through the whole thing.
The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) database lists out insurance advisors in your area who belong to their organization. NAHU offers seminars, workshops, and courses, along with maintaining a professional code of ethics that all their members subscribe to.
HealthCare.gov dispenses information about insurance brokers through their local listings. If you obtain your company’s insurance through SHOP, oftentimes you can use a broker you already have or find a brand new one.
Referrals from other business owners are another surefire way to find a broker. Sniff around to see if they’ve ever worked with companies of your size, or offer things like multilingual services if your employees need it. Once you get the name of someone, you can simply call up your state’s insurance hotline to see if that broker ever had disciplinary action taken against them. It’s a quick way to find out if your broker really is the bee’s knees.
What to look for in a breakout broker
Search for a broker who prizes teamwork above all. You want someone who listens to your needs, and can then keep that top of mind while they’re evaluating all the different coverage options out there. A good broker will then make recommendations and then find plans that neatly slot into your needs and budget. They will also go through your plan from time to time in order to update things, keep costs down, and be your advocate. Finally, your broker should be willing to help you counsel your team with all of their benefits questions.
Working with a health insurance advisor can save you a lot of heartache throughout the entire benefits experience. That’s why it’s so crucial to take your time finding your ideal match. When you do invest that time, you’ll end up with someone that you like, trust, and that your team can feel comfortable with during all your health care heart-to-hearts.