6 Tips for Choosing a Small Group Insurance Agent
6 Things to consider when Choosing an Insurance Agent for Your Business
If you’re a small business owner, health insurance can be a tough nut to crack. But you don’t have to go it alone. There are licensed professionals available to walk you through the process. Using an employee benefits expert doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, it could actually save you money because your agent helps you shop and compare plans. The right insurance agent will find a balance between coverage to address your employees’ needs and a plan that fits your budget.
Here’s what you should consider when selecting a health insurance agent:
1. Experience Matters:
How long has the agent been licensed? Is he or she focused on employee benefits or more general? Your agent’s expertise and knowledge of employee benefits and your market’s leading insurance carriers can benefit you as you compare plans. Before making a decision, be sure to review an agent’s personal information on the California Department of Insurance website. Talking with other business owners about their experiences may also help you narrow your choices
2. Specialist vs. Generalist:
Do the agents you’re considering have a niche? For example, some brokers focus on retailers, while others focus on manufacturing or office settings. If yours is a specialty business, you may want to zero in on agents who have a current client roster that includes others in your industry.
3. Location, Location, Location:
Finding an agent who is familiar with your area’s leading insurance carriers and health care providers is important. An agent whose customers are distant from your worksite may not know as much about the popularity (or problems) of health plans in your community. A “local” agent could save you time in your search for a plan that’s right for your employees and also a good fit for your budget.
4. You Deserve Choices:
Because your employees have different needs, it’s important to work with an agent who represents multiple health plans. Find out who the agent represents and whether your employees will have an opportunity to choose from different types of coverage (HMOs, PPOs, Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs), and Health Savings Account-compatible plans) or if they will be stuck with a single plan. If your agent represents an exchange like CaliforniaChoice, you and your employees can choose from a variety of health plans in a single program
5. The Right Fit:
When you are interviewing potential agents, consider their personalities. Make sure you and your employees feel comfortable working with them at open enrollment and for service-related issues throughout the year. Ask yourself if you think the agent seems to care about you, your business, and your employees. Avoid anyone about whom you are unsure.
6. Extras Can Differentiate:
Some agents offer more than just health insurance. Many provide value-added extras to attract and retain customers. These can include online enrollment and other tools to streamline the decision-making process or discounts on health and wellness programs. In addition to health insurance coverage, CaliforniaChoice offers a variety of extras to support employers and bring added value to employees.
Shopping for health insurance without help from an agent can result in you overpaying for your benefits. A skilled agent will provide products that offer comprehensive health coverage for your employees, while still helping you control your costs. If you need help finding an agent in your area, we can help. Click here and simply enter your ZIP Code.