Fear of losing insurance
One of the concerns we hear most often when people consider leaving teaching is a fear of losing insurance. What if I can’t afford insurance? How would I know which insurance to pick? What if all I can get is terrible insurance? Here’s the thing… you don’t have to be held captive by a career simply to keep your health insurance. There are so many other insurance options available to you. That’s why we asked Jim Moore, Insurance broker, and owner of Guardian Bell health to explain more about the health insurance world to you.
Here’s what Jim had to say:
People often ask me what is the difference between an insurance broker and an agent. Why should I choose one over the other? As someone who has done both, I hope I can provide some valuable insight into that. Let’s dig into it a little bit.
Agents and Brokers
The terms agents and brokers are often confused by people. From the outside, they don’t seem to be all that different; they both sell insurance. The difference is that an agent represents an insurance company, and only sells that company’s policies to customers. Insurance brokers are independent; they are free to transact with any insurer with whom they have a contract. Then, the insurer pays the broker a commission if their client buys a policy. Brokers don’t work for insurance companies. They work for their clients and shop around to find the right coverage.
Almost everyone knows someone who is an insurance agent, and many do business with them because they are friends. It’s human nature; you want to do business with someone you know and trust. That is perfectly normal and okay. While that friend may give you the best policy that they have at the best price they’re able to offer, it may not necessarily be the best policy that’s available to you. You see, there are literally hundreds of plans on the market. They are not one size fits all. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and an agent of any one company will only have access to the plans which that specific provider offers. As you can imagine, this limits the agent’s ability to truly search for the best option for your specific needs. In cases where their offerings can’t meet all your needs, the agent’s only option is to either offer you substandard coverage or refer you to someone who they know can help you.
A broker can choose to contract with as many or as few insurance providers as they see fit. They will learn the pros and cons of each. Some carriers are stronger in certain regions of the country, or even in a certain state. However, a broker will recognize this and be able to make the appropriate recommendation for their client. Some carriers may not offer certain things in different areas such as a critical illness, disability, or even vision and dental. In those instances, a broker may be contracted with other providers that do offer those options. That allows them to put together a comprehensive plan that truly protects you on all fronts.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Scenario 1: Mom and dad run their own business and currently have no employees. They are both super healthy and have two healthy kids. An agent works for a major carrier and has a great plan that covers their needs at what seems to be a reasonable monthly premium. A broker is contracted with the same carrier, independently runs a quote for the same plan, and cross-checks against similar plans with other carriers that they are contracted with. The broker picks the best three plans to show the clients, explains the differences, and is able to help them make an educated decision. In this case, the agent’s company turns out to be the best bet and the client can be confident in their decision.
Scenario 2: Same family demographics, agent offers same insurance plan. Only it turns out that the main breadwinner of this family has recently lost their job and the family income has taken a hit, making the agent’s policy unaffordable. A broker works with the family to determine that they qualify for subsidies on the Marketplace and helps them navigate all the different plan options to find them a coverage that meets their needs and is now affordable due to the subsidies.
Scenario 3: The agent works with a person and determines that they cannot be underwritten due to that person having diabetes. A broker works with clients to find a carrier with less stringent underwriting policies that will accept them.
You Have Choices:
There are as many scenarios as there are individual clients because every individual and every family is unique. At the end of the day, an independent health insurance broker works for the client and has their best interest in mind. They will take the time to educate and advise their client and provide them with the information necessary to make the best decision for themselves and their family. You have choices. Find the best option for you.
How can I help?
I started Guardian Bell Health in order to help as many people as possible. In fact, that’s why I chose the name Guardian Bell. The guardian bell legend says that by attaching a guardian bell to the lowest point on a motorcycle will protect and keep the rider safe from any evil spirits out there looking to harm you. The powerful magic of the bell only works when the bell is given to you by someone who cares deeply about you. At Guardian Bell Health, we care about you and your family and want to help protect you from the gremlins of everyday life such as accidents, sickness, and diseases that could be catastrophic to your financial security. If I can help you find effective and affordable health insurance, that is my goal. We can build a plan that fits your lifestyle and budget, so please reach out to schedule a meeting.
–written by Jim Moore