While we have been happily helping individuals and businesses review their health insurance options since “Obamacare” started (and long before), this year the Trump administration is actually encouraging this option.
In their efforts to reduce the costs of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has reduced the advertising budgets allocated to the federal marketplace and non-profit “insurance navigators”. The current administration seems to value the benefits of consumers working with agents and brokers and considers insurance agents and brokers “stakeholders” in the marketplace.
While some may be concerned about the fact that agents and brokers make their income from commissions earned from the insurance companies they work with, others realize the value that having these free, highly educated resources bring to the process consumers need to go through when selecting the smartest insurance plan for their individual needs.
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that people using insurance agents last year were less likely to be uninsured. We think this is because it is easier to make good decisions when you can work with a trusted adviser that has a vested interest in their relationships with the community.
Insurance agents and brokers spend the entire year working in their communities, not just the open enrollment period. They truly care about the people they are helping make decisions about their insurance. While the consumer does not have to pay for these services, the agents and brokers know that if they do not provide the best guidance available, the consumer can choose to go to another insurance carrier. Since agents only earn their commissions as long as the consumer continues with the policy, the agent has every incentive to help the consumer make the best choices.
With premiums rising, shrinking options and a lot of confusion, consumers need more help.
Unlike representatives from the insurance companies, independent agents and brokers can choose who they work with based on the value they feel it will bring to their customer, the person who needs the benefit of the insurance plans that are available in the market where you reside.
A good insurance agent is going to figure out what is most important to you and knows their products well enough to tell you which one is most likely to meet your needs.
The considerations go well beyond premiums. It is important to understand how you use your health insurance. Are you planning to start a family? Do you have particular doctors that you want to be able to see? Do you value preventative care? Are you concerned about pre-existing medical issues? These are only a few of the questions a good agent will ask you.
We are happy to see the current administration and the health insurance companies talk about the value agents and brokers bring to open enrollment.