Having proper health insurance is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and your family. But how do you go about finding the right health insurance for your needs? One way of finding information is to look for it online.  In fact, some health insurance plans allow you to sign up directly online.  But don’t underestimate the need to have a personal health insurance agent on your side.  Professional health insurance agents stay informed and current about the various health plans that are available. These include Marketplace, employee health plans, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement Plans.  A health insurance agent’s knowledge can help you understand your options better.

In the health insurance industry there are two types of agents: 1) captive agents; and 2) independent agents. Captive agents are professionals who work for a specific health insurance plan. Captive agents can only give you information about the plan they work for.  They are a good option if you are very sure of the health plan you want to enroll in.  Once you call a company directly, you will most likely be helped by a captive agent.

On the other hand, if you are unsure of what plan best fits your needs, using an independent health insurance agent may be the way to go. An independent agent can provide you with information about various health insurance companies and their plans. He or she can help you compare plans, guide you in understanding what the plans offer, and also help you choose the best plan for your needs.

Independent agents are effective because choosing a health insurance plan is not like buying a “one size fits all” product. Depending on your health care necessities, it may be beneficial for you to compare the various health insurance plans that are available to you. Because health insurance products can be a bit complicated, having a professional agent explain the differences to you can be very helpful.

An independent health insurance agent acts like a consultant advising you on your best choices. He or she will also help you find the best value for your needs.  Additionally, your independent agent will also be available throughout the time you have your policy to answer any questions. Your independent agent will also evaluate your policy periodically.  When choosing an independent health insurance agent, make sure you choose one that specializes in your specific need. If you need help with your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental Plans, make sure your independent agent understands Medicare.

Keep in mind that neither a captive agent nor an independent agent should charge you any fees to help you. All agents are paid a commission by the health insurance plans directly.

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