FAQ

What is a broker?

A broker is a licensed health insurance professional. Brokers typically are independent agents who receive commissions from an insurer for selling insurance products. Brokers usually work with multiple insurers, but some have an exclusive relationship with a single insurer.

Who uses brokers?

Brokers’ clients can range from individuals to very large firms.

How much does it cost to use a broker?

Health plans typically pay brokers’ commissions with no direct cost to the consumer.

Why should I use a broker?

Health insurance is an extremely complex product. Before deciding which policy is best, you need to consider the network of medical providers, the scope of what you want to cover and the details of levels of coverage, including the cost.

 

Health insurance is, in fact, financial protection—defying a one-size-fits-all approach. All of these factors make the broker’s role increasingly important to individuals, families and business owners in finding cost-saving measures and coverage options. Brokers provide and service insurance products while educating and advising you on how to manage risk and make informed insurance choices.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BROKER AND A NAVIGATOR?

On the individual health insurance exchange, navigators, assistors and certified application counselors (CACs) assist consumers with health insurance. While these navigators and assisters help some Americans gain access to the health insurance exchanges, working primarily through community centers and call centers helping people determine subsidy eligibility, they are prohibited from enrolling anyone in a health plan and by law must direct their clients to licensed health insurance broker. As health reform implementation progresses, Americans will rely on health insurance brokers more than ever to purchase the best possible coverage.

Why should I be cautious about buying health insurance online?

Buying health insurance benefits is different than buying books and music. Benefits are complex, and they are critically important. Healthcare coverage protects both a family’s health and its finances. Purchase the wrong book, and you’re out a few dollars. Purchase the wrong healthcare coverage, and the consequences are far more significant. Remember, if you buy health insurance online, there may be no advisor to explain benefits, no advocate if problems arise and no counselor to help you make the right coverage choices.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A BROKER FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HEALTH UNDERWRITERS?

Brokers who are members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) are highly trained insurance professionals who will guide you through the complex task of choosing appropriate coverage at an affordable cost and are dedicated to serving the long-term interests of consumers. As members of NAHU, these brokers show a dedication to their craft and receive exclusive benefits and training found nowhere else.
NAHU is also one of only three CMS-approved broker-training vendors for the 2016 open enrollment period for the federal healthcare exchange.

Members of NAHU have access to a sequence of college-level courses leading to a professional designation, such as:

  • Registered Health Underwriter (RHU)
  • Health Insurance Associate (HIA)
  • Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC)
  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)

HOW IS A BROKER COMPENSATED?

Insurance advisors have strong financial and professional incentives to give their clients a lifetime of quality products and service. Brokers are seldom salaried employees of the insurance companies they represent but instead are professionals who represent many companies. Most advisors are compensated on a commission basis—a percentage of the premiums you pay your insurance company. Others are compensated on a fee basis directly from employers. In each case, the broker’s loyalty and compensation rests with you, the consumer. Regardless of the method of compensation, brokers have strong incentives to place consumers with reliable, financially stable carriers and provide superior service on an ongoing basis.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM AN INSURANCE BROKER?

A broker will guide you through the complex task of choosing appropriate coverage at an affordable cost. Your professional insurance advisor should:

 

  • Work with you to evaluate your needs for insurance coverage.
  • Explain the details of different insurance plans.
  • Make specific recommendations and tailor plans to suit your special needs and budgets.
  • Review your plans periodically to update coverage and limit costs.
  • Serve as your advocate and advisor in dealing with insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and government agencies involving claims, services and regulations.
  • Help business owners communicate benefits packages to employees and demonstrate how various provisions can complement personal and government financial plans.

HOW DOES A BROKER STAY CURRENT WITH ALL THE CHANGES IN HEALTH INSURANCE?

Insurance brokers are licensed and regulated by state insurance departments. Prospective advisors receive training regarding insurance and applicable laws before taking a qualifying exam for licensing. The majority of states now require continuing education to maintain license status. Members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) receive access to seminars, workshops, courses and other educational forums to ensure members meet the highest standards of client service. NAHU also requires members to subscribe to a strict professional Code of Ethics.

WHERE DO I FIND A QUALIFIED INSURANCE BROKER?

Find A Broker

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Find an experienced, licensed health insurance professional in your area to help you choose the best insurance policy for your specific needs. Members of NAHU agree to abide by a Code of Ethics that requires them to always make healthcare coverage recommendations with your best interest in mind.

Share your story of how a licensed broker helped you find the right health insurance policy for your needs.