First, what is the difference between a broker and an agent?
California health insurance, these terms are often exchanged in conversation. Officially, an agent is a person or company who acts on behalf of freight forwarders to market, sell, and provide insurance services. The agent has a contract with the carrier for the execution of commercial transactions. A broker is a person who also hires the freight forwarders but officially acts on behalf of the customer. In practice, they are not that different with California health insurance.
For example, Goodacre Insurance Services is a California agent, but our goal is to find the right plan for an individual or a company of large insurance companies. If Blue Cross has the right option and the best prices for a particular person or business, that’s where we will go. We are independent agents, which is important as we have no interest in advancing any particular company or plan. We are aware that we deal with freight forwarders on a daily basis, which companies are simpler, more stable or cheaper. There are dozens of plans out there, so this can be very important. Looking at a range of tariffs and an overview of benefits is only half the battle when choosing health insurance. Some plans exclude certain benefits or place restrictions on other types of insurance. We know the terrain and personally you would like to take out health insurance not just on the basis of a tariff offer.
Some companies (though not large ones) use captured agents. This is a person who only sells one company’s insurance plans. They are basically employees of this company. I would avoid these type of companies as they may not care about the client’s best interest. If a company cannot specify multiple carriers, be careful. The major airlines in California are Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Pacificare, and Kaiser. Beyond these five, we don’t feel very safe with others.
How are agents or brokers paid? The carriers pay the agents a commission for issued and valid policies. The commission is usually about the same from one carrier to another. This commission has no influence on the rate. The insurance rate you would get through an agent / broker is the same one you would get directly through the carrier. The benefit of the agent relationship is that they navigate the carriers to expedite processing, help with service issues after registration, and act as a third party. Again, one operator’s primary interest is to keep you enrolled as a policy insurer, but your interest may actually be with another operator or plan. An independent broker can help you bring the two together at no additional cost. Also, freight forwarders are big companies. Some of the reps are very knowledgeable and some are … let’s face it … newer. If you deal with California health insurance on a daily basis, we have a wealth of information and guidance that you may not get right out of the box.
What can you expect from your broker / agent and especially Goodacre Insurance Services?
Goodacre Insurance Services offers services in three main areas.
Selecting the California Health Plan.
This really is the hardest part, and it’s why people put off getting health insurance. There are a lot of plans and the language is pretty technical. Most people glaze over when they see the flyers or the instant offer results. Let’s face it … health insurance is not a common purchase. Usually people haven’t had to get health insurance in years … if they ever did. Goodacre Insurance Services has been solely concerned with California health insurance for more than a decade. I can guarantee that with a few specific questions, the choice of plan can be clearly narrowed down. We want you to be informed. Every day we hear from our customers that they wish they had called earlier instead of trying to navigate through the amounts of information provided in the plans. Let us help We don’t sell. We listen, we advise and then it’s up to you what you want to do.
California application and enrollment.
The health app is another reason people hesitate. There are sections that are legally mandated but completely confusing, such as the HIPAA rating. Small groups can be just as difficult to qualify for small group health insurance in California. We will be happy to guide you through the application as soon as a plan has been established. This is also the time to inquire about the process, payment options, cancellation options, and schedule for signing up for coverage. Based on your situation, we can give you a benchmark of what to expect from normal processing.
Health insurance and membership.
Once the plan is in place, we will be your point of contact for membership questions, complaints, and future changes. We register at the end of each month and make sure that the changes, additions and faxed inquiries have been processed correctly. The operators are pretty good, but 1 in 100 requests doesn’t show up in the system. You don’t want to be the one with problems as critical as health insurance. We can also advise you on reducing the cost of tariff increases due to your changing health insurance needs.
Note that you can always contact the carrier directly if you want, but why should you? Let us do the work for you as there is no additional cost for you.
Agents and brokers must be licensed and trained from the California Department of Insurance. You can always research an agent’s history, transportation contracts, and other information about them. There are different types of licenses. The two most common are life / health, which is used to handle California health insurance, and property and casualty insurance, which is used to handle insurance such as auto or home insurance. Some agents deal with both health and general insurance, but it’s getting harder and harder to get everything right and keep up with the ever-changing industries. That is why we focus exclusively on health insurance. We know the operators, the plans and the changes in the market. That makes us invaluable to you.
As we say on the phone here at Goodacre Insurance Services … “How can I help you?”