The news that Wal-Mart is breaking into the health insurance industry by having agents available to answer queries at their stores leads us neatly to the question: Should you look for health insurance via an instant price comparison tool or is it better to purchase from an agent?
Those who promote the use of agents, especially for first-time buyers, point out that the health insurance market is a complex one. An agent is supposed to save you time and money in the search for the best insurance for your needs. “Captive” agents, however, are best avoided because they work for one insurer and are usually employees of that company. As a result, you end up receiving health insurance that is likely to be nowhere near the cheapest, and it probably won’t be tailored to suit all your needs.
Independent agents, on the other hand, have access to various insurers from whom they receive a flat fee or a percentage of the sale. This sounds like an ideal scenario until you realize the level of effort required on your part to even find a suitable agent.
How to Find a Reputable Agent
First and foremost, you have to find a professional with a positive reputation in the industry, which means looking for reviews and feedback on the agent(s) in question. You also have to check references, licenses, and registrations. In order to find out more about an agent’s disciplinary record, it is necessary to phone the hotline of your state insurance commissioner. You should ask the commissioner if the agent has ever been sued by a client.
Once you have found a suitable agent, you need to learn more about the services offered. Agents usually specialize in the sale of certain health products and may not be knowledgeable about the services you require. At this stage, you will need to ask for examples of previous work relating to the services you need. Employers seeking insurance for their employees also need to ask if there is a dedicated account manager, and you’ll have to ask about the way referrals are handled too.
What’s the Alternative?
All of the above seems like a lot of work for a quote, mainly because it is! If this was the only way to find the most tailored health insurance quote for you, it would be acceptable, but there is a much easier and faster way! Using the Health Plan One search tool is about as easy as making a cup of coffee and takes about as long.
Simply choose whether you want individual, family, small business, or Medicare health insurance, and enter your ZIP code. Then you just input some personal details, and your quotes will appear within seconds. The information we ask for helps us to find individualized quotes, and you can review the best choices.
We are licensed in every state and the District of Columbia and work with all major health insurance carriers in the United States. With a lowest-price guarantee, you can find affordable insurance that is perfect for you in a fraction of the time it would take to complete the process with an agent.