One of the benefits I receive from work is free consultations with an insurance agent. Is this a good way of shopping for health insurance?
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Asked September 3, 2013
There is not an easy yes or no answer to your question. Some employer-sponsored health insurance plans are better than others, and others cost more than the better policies you could choose from. The ability to consult an insurance company representative regularly is a valuable commodity, but being able to consult with an agent is almost assuredly not tied to whether you purchase your insurance from that company.
Feel free to get a quote from your employer-sponsored health plan. When you get it, use this website to get a free online quote. This will give you a company quote and several online quotes to compare, so you will know you are getting the best price available. Be sure to check the financial stability of the insurance company you choose with a company such as the A.M. Best Company, to make sure that the financial standings are as appealing as the policy you are considering.
When you have found the best deal, go back to the agent at your job and talk to them. Unless they are the company offering the best price, explain what you have researched and share the quote you settled on. Since most visiting representatives are dedicated agents, also called captive agents, they may not be able to negotiate a better price, but it could happen. The agent may not be able to change the cost, but have the leeway to provide some incentive coverages to make up the difference.
Be sure to subtract the employer sponsored amount from the quote you get at work. The amount that your employer pays towards your health insurance premium, if any, could make a significant dent in the cost of the premiums. This amount will not be available to you if you choose to go with a plan outside the company. Similarly, if your family physician is a member of one plan, but not another, it may be worth a bit more in premiums in order to keep your old doctors.
Answered September 3, 2013 by Anonymous