Texas has the largest percentage of uninsured residents in the country. Unfortunately, not all employers offer benefits. Plus, many Texans are retired, self-employed, or experiencing temporary unemployment.
Finding health insurance that fits your budget shouldn’t be difficult. Yet trying to make sense of different policies and their coverage, networks, exclusions, and other differences isn’t easy.
A health insurance broker can help. Health insurance brokers are licensed insurance experts that can help you find the best year-to-year plan to meet your changing needs.
The question is, how can you find the best health insurance broker in Texas? Read on for five tips.
1. Understand the Difference Between a Broker and an Agent
Before you begin the process of seeking out an insurance broker, make sure that you know the difference between an insurance broker and an insurance agent. An insurance agent is a professional that can help you sign up for an insurance policy, but they work for a specific insurance company. This means that they can only offer you policies from one carrier and may be limited to specific insurance products.
An insurance broker, on the other hand, is an independent licensed insurance professional. While they have relationships with major insurance providers, they are not beholden to a single provider. That means that they are free to compare policies from a variety of providers in order to find the policy that best suits your health and financial needs.
2. Seek Referrals and Reviews
Look to previous clients of an insurance broker and see what they have to say. If you know someone personally who has worked with a broker, find out who they worked with and if they’d recommend that broker. This is most helpful if the person you’re communicating with has similar insurance needs to your own (e.g., seniors who have used a broker while navigating Medicare supplements).
You can also look at online reviews of insurance brokerages in your area. Take note of what previous clients said about communication, personalization, and professionalism. The goal is to find a broker who not only can match you with a quality policy that fits your needs but that will support you closely throughout the entire process.
3. Check for Fees
The majority of health insurance brokers are free for clients to work with. Rather than charging the client for their services, the health insurance broker makes a commission from the policy their client signs up for. This commission is paid out by the insurance provider in exchange for the service of securing new clients, but the broker is not the insurance provider’s employee.
On occasion, you may encounter a health insurance broker that does charge fees for their services. For example, they may charge a consultation fee or an hourly fee for in-person communication. These fees are often low, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept them.
Because so few brokers do charge their clients for their services, we recommend working exclusively with a health insurance broker that works on commission. This is especially important for clients who are unemployed and need help securing an insurance policy that meets their budget.
4. Specify Your Needs
One of the trickiest things about finding the right insurance policy is understanding what coverage you’re paying for. Many insured Americans are prescribed at least one medication that their insurance does not cover. This can lead to the tough choice between paying out-of-pocket for expensive drugs or forgoing an important medication altogether.
When you’re looking for a health insurance broker, make sure you understand your needs. For example, if you’re looking for a group plan for your employees, make sure you partner with a broker who has experience with plan design.
If you’re looking for individual insurance, be specific about any known health needs, including current prescriptions or ongoing health treatments. This will allow your broker to better evaluate your options and recommend policies that won’t leave you paying out of pocket.
5. Look for Experience and Reliability
New health insurance brokerages are opening each year to meet the growing healthcare crisis in America. When you’re picking a broker to work with, look for a brokerage that has years of experience in your state, indicating familiarity with both national and state insurance companies.
Consider narrowing down your options to health insurance brokerages specifically. There are insurance brokerages that do not specialize in one type of insurance and instead match clients with everything from car to home to business insurance. While these brokers have the expertise to understand different policies, they may not be able to stay on top of the year-over-year changes that occur within the health insurance industry.
You may also want to ensure that your broker is available year-round. Some brokers work on a seasonal basis, available only during the enrollment period. While they can help you find the right policy, they aren’t available to assist you with any concerns throughout the rest of the year.
Looking for a Texas Health Insurance Broker?
Finding Texas health insurance isn’t easy. The right health insurance broker can help. If you’re looking for a health insurance plan in Texas, we’re here to help.
Custom Health Plans, Inc. offers year-round service to our clients. Our insurance brokers are licensed experts in the field of health insurance. Together, we can find a policy that suits your needs and your budget, whether that’s a short-term or long-term policy.
To get started, contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.