If your clients ask you why they should engage an insurance broker when they are shopping for health insurance, do you have an answer? It’s a frequently searched question on the Internet, so it’s important you know how to respond.
Is It Better to Buy Health Insurance Through a Broker?
Agent vs. Broker
In our Broker Life column this month, we look at what distinguishes an insurance agent from an independent insurance broker. You can read that column here. The biggest difference is an agent generally works for a single insurance company (and may be employed by that company), while a broker often works with multiple insurers. A broker may even write coverage through a public Health Insurance Marketplace like Covered California or Nevada Health Link, or a private exchange like CaliforniaChoice.
It’s always advisable to consider quotes from multiple insurers when shopping for insurance, so using a broker can make things easier – especially when considering employee benefit options. An independent broker may represent one or more insurers or a multi-carrier exchange as mentioned previously.
Under the Affordable Care Act, plans offering similar benefits are priced similarly. So, clients are likely to see similar rates on plans offered by the same carriers. It does not matter whether they are buying coverage directly through an insurer, through a private or public exchange, or through a broker.
Using a broker can help a business owner or benefits manager shop the complete market, comparing health coverage and carriers as well as value-added benefits offered through an insurer, administrator, or general agency. For example, as a Word & Brown broker, you’re able to offer a range of “extras” for your clients, including:
- Side-by-side plan comparisons showing your client’s current plan, renewal, and suggested alternative options
- Quote-integrated provider search tools to ensure your customers get their preferred medical groups, doctors, specialists, and Rx benefits in the plans being considered
- Ease online enrollment access and API integration – making it easy to go from quote to online enrollment with just one click
- Onsite enrollment experts to expedite enrollments, explain carrier perks, review completed applications, and finalize your case submissions
- Experienced underwriters who deliver fast turnaround and ensure your groups get approved by the carrier faster
- In-house Compliance expertise, including answers to clients’ questions on evolving rules, regulations, and reporting in connection with employer-sponsored benefits.
Depending on your customers’ group size, the businesses may be eligible for additional benefits like a Health Savings Account (HSA), Premium Only Plan (POP), or other services at a discounted fee.
What can really tip the scale in your favor is often the service that you offer. Your customers may not care that you represent many insurance companies and sell lots of different products. They may only be interested in the service you deliver.
Word & Brown can help you there, too. For 35+ years, we’ve been recognized for our “Service of Unequalled Excellence” to brokers and those you serve. We’ll help you improve your service to clients, because we provide the back office support you need – allowing you to focus on sales. When you partner with us, we are an extension of your business – saving you time and money.
Contact your Word & Brown representative to learn more, or if you’re not already working with us, call (800) 869-6989.