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The Differences Between a Health Insurance Agent and a Broker

ACA open enrollment has just passed for another year here in the United States. Sometimes, even those who feel confident in their selection are left with more questions than answers. The same can be true of Americans who get their health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan.

As a consumer, you always have the power to ask questions about your plan and try your best to make the right choices. But getting information isn’t always easy. One of the first decisions is also the hardest: What sources can you trust when it comes to accurate information on personal health insurance?

More and more people are going online to get the facts they need to make an informed decision. In the end, though, no blog post is applicable to every situation. It’s always best to get individualized advice on your unique needs. And you have two major options to choose from:

  • A local health insurance broker
  • A health insurance agent

Here in Central Florida and beyond, most people are more familiar with insurance agents. In fact, there are still many who haven’t heard about their local health insurance broker. But when you want the full story about your insurance options, there are many things an agent alone cannot tell you.

Do you need to talk to an insurance agent, a Central Florida health insurance broker, or both?

To make the best use of your time, it helps to know the difference between the two.

Difference #1: Who They Work For

As the name suggests, a health insurance agent works for an insurance agency. They are usually a full-time employee with one specific insurance agency. This isn’t always the case: Some agents might work with multiple agencies, but they always have a sales quota they need to meet.

Whichever insurance firm an agent happens to be representing that day, it’s the only option you’ll be hearing about from them. They usually have lots of insight into the different products and services their agency offers – but they aren’t nearly as interested in whether it’s the best choice for you.

Insurance agents don’t usually know much, if anything, about other insurers. They also aren’t versed in alternative approaches to insurance: Like nonprofits, industry associations, and other organizations that provide insurance throughout Central Florida. (And even if they knew, they couldn’t tell you!)

In effect, the agent works for the insurer. They’re most interested in making a sale.

On the other hand, a local health insurance broker works for you. Health insurance brokers are totally independent with respect to different insurers. They may choose to work with agencies, but that will represent only a fraction of the total number of insurance policies they can help you with.

No matter which agencies or other groups a health insurance broker partners with, they do not have a sales quota. This equips a broker to give you honest and unbiased advice based on your situation.

Difference #2: Where They Work

Major insurance agencies have personnel all across the United States. When you call an agency, you are usually accessing a call center that works as a clearinghouse. While most states require you to talk to an insurance professional within your state, they could still be hundreds of miles away.

This makes a difference since they are not necessarily aware of the important public health trends that may impact you and your needs. Even when they do their best to select a policy, they are more likely to overlook important information that would be obvious to a broker from the area.

By contrast, a local health insurance broker is just that – local. The most trustworthy brokers specialize in a nearby area and rarely operate in a radius of more than 50 miles. This ensures they have the focus to understand the insurance landscape in a particular area inside and out.

As long as you continue to live somewhere in your health insurance broker’s service area, you’re free to use their guidance at any time. Some people speak with their broker once a year. Others are in touch on a more regular basis, getting customized insight whenever their needs change.

When It Comes to Personalized Guidance, A Local Health Insurance Broker Is Your Best Bet

Even though there are “only” two major differences between an insurance broker and an insurance agent, they affect every part of your experience. When you choose a health insurance broker, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have an ally in your corner.

Contact us to find out more or get started today.