Four Places to Find Health Insurance Quotes

May 7th 2016

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, you have even more places to find individual and family health insurance quotes. New health insurance premium costs will also be affected by federal subsidies, changes in required services and other aspects of the ACA. For this reason, it's important to gather quotes and compare policies before making the best decision for your health insurance needs. While you should receive the same basic information from whichever source you choose, there are four places you can ask for accurate health insurance quotes. 

Health Insurance Quotes from Insurance Agents

Consulting with an insurance agent is a great option for first-time health insurance buyers. To find a good agent, ask for recommendations from people you trust. You can also check with your state for a list of licensed insurance agents. Before you schedule a meeting, you should review your budget, any particular health concerns you have and the type of coverage you require. 

An insurance agent should be able to instantly give you a variety of quotes from different insurers and help you apply for coverage. Good agents should also ask if you qualify for government programs, like Medicaid. An agent won't receive a commission on government-funded health insurance programs, but an ethical agent will encourage you to apply for the most cost-effective health insurance option.

Insurance agents are paid by commission, so the cost of their services is free to you. However, the percentage that an agent makes on each sale can vary between policies. If you're wondering about the financial incentives being offered to your agent, don't be afraid to ask. A good insurance agent will be forthright about his or her commission and be able to make a compelling argument for choosing a specific health insurance plan.

Health Insurance Quotes from Private Health Insurance Companies

If you've had individual health insurance in the past, you may have a preferred health insurance company. Even if you don't have a health insurance provider preference, your doctor may strictly limit the insurance he or she accepts. In these cases, you may want to look for quotes on the health insurance provider's website.

Before getting a quote, you may have to answer detailed questions about your health and medical history. Once you have a quote, be sure to compare the premium you were offered to other health insurance plans from other companies. Although you may be determined to choose a specific plan, it's important to know how your premium compares with other health insurance companies. If there's a large disparity, it may be worth switching health insurance companies.

Health Insurance Quotes from Government Websites

The Affordable Care Act established a federal health insurance marketplace where people can purchase health insurance. In some cases, HealthCare.gov will refer you to your state's health insurance website. Both the federal and state websites will require you to answer questions about your income and family before offering health insurance quotes. These quotes will also tell you if you are eligible for any government health insurance subsidies. In some cases, you may be directed to sign up for a government-provided health insurance, like Medicaid.

You can purchase health insurance on the website, but beware of glitches. Some states, like Arizona, have found that the federal health insurance marketplace gave visitors inaccurate premium quotes. Experts also recommend that you check with the insurance company you chose, so you can verify that they received your application and premium in a timely manner.

Health Insurance Quotes from Online Insurance Brokers

Online insurance brokers offer you the ability to compare health insurance plans and get ballpark quotes from several different health insurance companies. Many websites, like eHealthInsurance.com or HealthInsurance.com, only require you to disclose your age, tobacco use and student status. 

Getting quotes from online insurance brokers is the fastest option, but the quotes provided can be widely inaccurate. Plan on offering more information and filling out a detailed application before getting an accurate premium amount. Just like insurance agents, online insurance brokers receive commissions for selling health insurance. Therefore, be wary of choosing a health insurance policy just because it was recommended by the website. 

Collecting an assortment of health insurance quotes is only the first step when purchasing health insurance. Never pick a health insurance company based on their quote alone. You should also consider the size of the provider network, the type of insurance plan being offered and the user-friendliness of the company before applying for a policy. Once you're confident you've found the right policy for you, you can return to the website or your insurance agent and apply for coverage.

Summary:

  • Consider using an insurance agent if you're unsure about the health insurance application process.
  • Go directly to the health insurance company for a quote if you have a strong preference.
  • Use government websites to get information about healthcare premium subsidies.
  • Online insurance brokers offer quick quotes from a wide variety of health insurance companies.

Sources:

http://guides.wsj.com/health/health-costs/how-to-buy-an-individual-health-insurance-plan/

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/tips-choose-health-insurance-company-obamacare/story?id=21210036

http://www.azcentral.com/business/consumer/articles/20131227health-net-misquoted-aca-rates.html

https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/individual/

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