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When you chose your insurance plan, did you shop online, call the insurance company, or did you go to your neighborhood insurance salesperson? These options will all help you buy insurance that’s right for you, but sometimes the route you pick makes all the difference.

Insurance agents, insurance companies, and healthcare.gov are all valuable resources to help you be sure that your insurance purchase goes smoothly. When you have tough questions about which plan to purchase, how much your premium will be, or finding out what’s covered under your plan, you have a variety of ways to get answers. Knowing where and how to get these answers, however, is a huge part of the process.

 

What are my options?

There are a number of ways to research your health insurance options, including contacting an insurance company directly or- if you think you might be eligible for a subsidy- going to healthcare.gov to review ACA offerings on the federal government’s insurance exchange.

For more personal assistance, you can contact an insurance agent. Agents are licensed professionals, informed and up to speed on changes, updates and regulations in the health care industry. An experienced agent at Triad Insurance Partners Inc. in Greensboro, Brenda Lasley says that in addition to being able to guide you through the purchase process, agents also “create a point of contact with the consumer that establishes a personal relationship.”

Because of that personal assistance, using an agent can be particularly helpful for people purchasing insurance for the first time. Health care is a complicated system that has developed its own language over the years: co-payment, co-insurance, deductible, cost-sharing, EOB, PPO, HMO. Agents are there to help you understand all of this.

 

Which route is best for me?

Before you even think about picking a route, keep in mind: with all of the new laws, rules and regulations surrounding the ACA, finding an insurance plan can be a headache. Regardless of whether it’s your first time buying insurance, or if you’re a seasoned veteran, its best to make sure that you know what’s happening in the health care world so you can be prepared for any changes that may lie ahead. There are many online resources for health industry news, and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website is among the best.

If you have purchased insurance before and are already dealing with a company that you like, go directly to that company. The sales team will be able to renew your current plan, or discuss changing plans to better fit your needs.

But if you want to change insurers, you might try starting with a visit to healthcare.gov. There, you can easily view and compare multiple plans at once to find out which plan is best for you, and which insurer provides that plan. You can also see pricing and cost options immediately, so there is not much run-around or room for questions. What you choose is what you get.

And, if you have never purchased insurance before and aren’t really sure what you need, talk to an agent. Agents are professionals, and they are trained in what they do. Brenda Lasley tells us that agents are required to take ongoing training classes in order to keep their licenses, and the requirements can be strict. You can trust an agent to give you correct and current information and answer any tough questions you may have.

The key is knowing that you have options. You don’t have to pay a fee to call a sales team, search around on healthcare.gov or talk to an agent. Take advantage of the available resources and get answers to your questions before choosing the right plan for you and your family. The journey to getting a health insurance plan that suits your needs doesn’t need to be an ordeal. Remember, the route you take can sometimes make all the difference.

Kayt Leonard

About Kayt Leonard

Kayt Leonard is a Rotational Development Associate in Corporate Communications at BCBSNC, and is passionate about keeping people well-informed through social engagement.