Finding the right plan for your needs is perhaps the most important thing you can do to save on healthcare costs. Unfortunately, many Americans do little to no research on a health insurance plan and their needs. You do not have to become a healthcare expert to find the right plan. There are free, unbiased professionals that can help in your search, and the Affordable Care Act has set up a huge network of free consumer help. Our tax dollars pay for a lot of the resources, so why not make use of them? Here are the main options for help:
Navigator – A navigator is a free, certified marketplace guide, meaning they help you go through the state and federal healthcare exchanges. These are the websites that the government set up to sell “qualified” health insurance plans. Navigators are required by law to be impartial and even direct you to other resources if you are not going to purchase a plan through the healthcare exchange. Navigators can also help you complete the enrollment in a plan.
Agent/Broker – An agent or broker is another health insurance guide who may receive a fee and may have a bias in enrolling you into a plan. Agents/brokers are licensed professionals and may also be navigators. Always ask how an agent/broker is compensated. Note that some agents/brokers may only be able to sell plans from a certain health insurance company.
Other options – There are many non-profits, advocacy organizations and online tools that can help you find the right plan. Use the tool Healthcare.Gov Local Help Finder to search for free help in your area.