Where to Get Reliable Advice about Health Insurance
There is no doubt that health insurance is a complicated topic, so it is only natural that you probably want some advice on what kind of health plan is right for you and your family. Getting good, reliable advice can be difficult when dealing with financial products. Everyone presents themselves as trustworthy, but many of these people want your trust so that they can sell you something, whether it is their advice, a health insurance policy or their company’s good name.
It is absolutely critical that you find a health plan that protects your family. The number one cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is medical bills (62 percent). The surprising thing is that almost 72 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy due to medical expenses had health insurance. So it isn’t enough to have a stripped down health insurance policy; you need coverage that will provide comprehensive protection for a wide range of situations.
In order to get that essential financial protection, you need to understand the intricacies of a wide range of topics including insurance, financial markets and health care. You need to educate yourself on as many of these topics as possible, but these are complex concepts that are often related to changes in the local and national economy as well as new laws being passed by Congress. That is why most people rely on third parties to advise them as to which policy to get.
For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for a health plan is an insurance agent. While insurance agents do offer some advantages, they may not be the best option for everyone. An agent is actually an employee of an insurance company, so they are likely to only offer policies that their employer provides. This can limit your options and give you a fractured picture of the insurance market. If you go with an insurance agent, at least shop around at several companies first.
The key advantage of getting your health insurance policy from an agent is that if you are looking for a basic policy, they may be able to provide one at a very low price. Because agents are employees and don’t work on commission in many cases, the price on very basic policies may be the lowest available. Also, if you have direct access to your insurer through your agent which may prove helpful if you need questions answered quickly.
You may not be as familiar with insurance brokers as you are with agents. Unlike insurance agents that work for private insurers, brokers are independent and therefore have access to a wider range of policies from several insurers. Most brokers rely on commissions on policies they sell, so their prices may be slightly higher than those of some agents.
The reason to use a broker is that they are more likely to provide a policy or advice that doesn’t favor a single company. Because they stock many plans from multiple insurers, they often have a broader view of the insurance market. This means they can help you find a policy that is a better fit for your personal situation. Since they don’t need to push a product, they will offer more neutral advice that may be more relevant to your situation. You may find the answers to many health insurance questions at one of the industry’s most trusted insurance brokerages, Boost Health Insurance.
There are many agencies in the state and federal government that may be able to assist you in your search for the ideal health plan. One of the first stops in your search should be Healthcare.gov. This is the portal for Obamacare where you can find government-sponsored health plans and sign up for tax subsidies. You can also find important educational resources as well as third party contacts like insurance agents and brokers.
You may also find valuable information at Medicare (the insurance program for seniors) or Medicaid (the insurance program for low-income, pregnant or disabled). Although both of these programs offer insurance directly, they also sponsor plans that are offered through private insurers. Consequently, they are quite knowledgeable about insurers and markets.
Finally, you may obtain assistance in your health insurance search from your state insurance commission. These state agencies may not have precise information about specific health plans, but as the leading regulatory body in your area, they can often provide information about the reputation of many insurers. If you are unsure if an insurer is trustworthy, you should contact your state insurance commission.
There are many consumer interest groups that provide reliable advice on health insurers and their products. Some of these groups like ConsumerWatchdog.org offer more general news about insurance industry and companies, while others provide one-on-one assistance for choosing a health plan.
Unlike many insurance resources you may find that are neutral or biased in favor of insurers, these consumer interest groups are completely on the side of consumers. While many of these groups offer assistance freely, some may require that you pay a fee to obtain their advice.
One group of consumer advocates that may be of particular importance, especially if you are shopping for an Obamacare health plan are community navigators. These are non-profit community volunteer groups originally funded by the government to help people choose and enroll in an Obamacare plan. In recent years, the funding for these navigator programs has been cut, so many of them have vanished. If a navigator group is still operating in your community, you should take advantage of this valuable resource.
Finding the right health insurance policy for you and your loved ones shouldn’t be an instant decision. You should take the time to look at all of your available options and carefully consider which ones are most likely to fit your financial and health care needs now and in the foreseeable future. If you need further assistance in your search, please visit Boost Health Insurance.
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