Health insurance agents play a critical role of ensuring that everybody has access to good healthcare services. However, most of what they do goes unappreciated for various reasons because of the misconceptions many people have regarding them.
Agents help clients to know and understand the different options in the market. They also act as their clients’ advocates. Most health insurance agents are trustworthy and by law all carriers must complete background checks on them. That’s a lot of background checks all looking for any criminal and trust issues. They know their craft too and are tested and licensed in each state they sell in. What is more, they help you to save time and money by doing the work for you.
The twelve most common misconceptions associated with what the agents do include:
- They are merely middle men
The fact is insurance health agents are not just middle men. Healthcare can be quite complex to understand. The agents provide the information that helps you to understand your options and what you have to do to get the right coverage for you or your family.
2. Buying through an agent costs more
Another common misconception is that it costs more to work with an agent. Why? They expect their clients to pay commission. Agents get their commission from the main provider or company. Therefore, you pay nothing. Commissions are already factored into the cost of a health insurance plan whether you use an agent or not. They are not loyal to a company, they are loyal to you. Any health insurance agent you see is an independent contractor. Agents have the sole goal of serving you to convince you to return. That would not be possible if they showed more loyalty to insurance firms instead of the clients.
3. Agents only push one company
Just as the previous misconception, this one isn’t worth believing. As earlier stated, agents are independent contractors thus not beholden to one insurance firm only. Instead, they present you with various options to help you choose what you consider most suitable.
4. Most people buy online where anyone can be a health insurance agent
It is true that some people buy health insurance online. Nobody can just start working as a health insurance agent or selling plans online though. The agents go through intense training to make them eligible to work in this industry. They are licensed and must comply with the professional requirements as well.
5. Insurance firms never check agents’ qualifications
Another misconception is that insurers are never concerned about the agents’ qualifications. It goes further to declare that all these insurers are concerned with is the agents’ ability to sell insurance products. As stated at the beginning of the article, the truth is the law requires insurers to work with only qualified agents.
6. It’s best to work with an investment financial adviser
The belief that it’s better to work with a financial adviser rather than health insurance agents is wrong. Financial advisers are great for helping you design an overall plan but most are not able to help you to find good affordable health insurance. Due to the fact that financial advisers already have lots of training and continuing education to keep up on in the securities industry most do not possess the individual product knowledge (or keep up on product availability)to enable them to offer you the help you need.
7. It’s impossible to identify qualified agents
It’s not impossible to know which agents are qualified. There are several bodies one can always check with to authenticate the qualifications that an agent has or lacks. Good news is you can do all the checking online. You can check with your states Department of Insurance and The American College keeps an online database of agents that have undergone extensive training.
8. The Internet offers the easiest way of buying insurance
The internet has simplified life in many ways. However, the belief that it presents the easiest way of buying health insurance is wrong and misplaced. Health insurance is complex. It has numerous options too. It is better to work with a health insurance agent that knows the local market to avoid making costly mistakes online.
9. It’s better to buy from the insurance company directly
In some cases, especially if you have interacted with the wrong agent, you may consider buying directly from the insurance carrier. However, you should always try to go through agents. The agents save you from calling several health insurance companies to find the right plan and should simplify the process for you.
10. Many agents are scammers
Some people you talk to will tell you that insurance agents are scammers. Well, that is far from the truth. The truth is the industry has its fair share of bad apples just like any other. However, they typically do not last very long. Most states will not allow an agent that’s treating customer wrongfully stay licensed. Whats more is that your agent gets paid only when you keep the policy and make a payment each month. People who are scammed don’t tend to keep the products they were scammed into buying very long. Most of the agents are out to help you and provide all the services you need. They are not scammers.
11. All agents are the same so the one you choose isn’t important
Well, this is a wrong approach and attitude. Do the research required to find the best agents. Do not work with just anyone that you find. Ask questions and check social media, google places and services like Angie’s list for reviews. Choose an agent who treats you well. Choose one who prioritizes your needs too.
12. Agents are only interested in commission and not your needs
It is wrong to believe that your health insurance agent’s main concern is the commission paid by the insurer rather than your needs. Most agents are taught that you put the customer’s needs first and good stuff will follow. It’s true that some agents can be quite pushy. However, never allow any agent to push you into buying a health insurance plan you don’t need or you don’t understand.
Working With a Local Indiana Health Insurance Agent
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My Life as a Health Insurance Agent
As a health insurance agent a typical day for me goes like this…I tend to work from home as opposed to going into the office. I usually start my day at 9:30 checking emails, voicemails, etc. I’ll then check the news for any relative stories I can contribute to. I make it a daily goal to increase my exposure online and by offering myself as a source or looking for news opportunities I can write about on my blog, I’m able to do that. I typically run 2 appointments a day. Some day’s are 5 and some are 1 but 2 appointments make for the perfect day. My appointments can be anywhere from down the street to an hour and a half away. I don’t mind the driving, in fact I enjoy being able to see new things and have a little time to myself. At times I’ll listen to a self help CD and at times I listen to music. I worked in a bank for several years so I really appreciate the opportunity to move around and meet new people in their home or a local coffee shop. I usually get home around 5 or 6 and I’m back on the computer again. Looking for news related to my business or opportunities to be a source for someone else’s article. Me and my wife usually watch TV for a bit and then I’ll study for my CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation (2 more classes to go). Then it’s off to bed and starting it all over in the morning. I do make calendar entries at the beginning of the month and anything we do as a family will go on there. That way I’m making sure to set some time aside during the week for family events. We might go bowling at noon or go to a movie at night. The flexibility you have has a broker is really what makes it the best job for me