eHealthInsurance, Go Health Insurance, Costco Health Insurance, and Health Plan One are examples of brokerage companies that offer health insurance throughout the US

Use local health insurance brokers not agents
Beware the Call-Center Insurance Broker
Choosing the right health insurance for yourself or your family is important. Where you get information to help in the decision could make a big difference in whether you get the best health plan or just “okay coverage”.

When searching for information, Google searches will often return a variety of big national insurance brokerage firms along with local brokers. You should use a local broker, but if you choose a nationwide firm you need to be aware of their limitations.

5 Key Issues With Nationwide Health Brokers

I’m not saying that national health insurance brokers are bad. They are just not the best option available to you. Here are the issues and limitations to be aware of:

  1. Call center brokers don’t have better prices for health plans
  2. In California, all health insurance rates are controlled by the Department of Insurance. Therefore, the rates you see on a national broker website and a local broker website will be the same.

    Buying Health Insurance Is Like Selling Your Home
    If you were selling your home would you use a broker located in Chicago or a broker located near your home? The local Realtor will know your neighborhood, the schools, the value of other homes in your area, the real estate market conditions, along with other local Realtors that work with buyers.

    A national Realtor would have to look up that information, and probably not have the same level of detail as the local broker.

    Health insurance is very similar. A local broker will know how the local health plans work, the networks that doctors accept, and the hospitals in the area along with the insurance networks the hospitals accept.

    Which would you choose, a national broker or a local broker?

  3. National brokers only show you the health plans they want you to see
  4. Many of the nationwide brokers are revenue driven because they are listed on a stock exchange. Their quote engines will not show you all the options that are available to you. They show the ones that pay the brokerage firm the most.

  5. Nationwide agents won’t check the networks your doctors and hospitals are in
  6. Most brokers won’t do this because it is time intensive. It requires searching across multiple provider search tools. Each tool works differently and won’t allow a simple search strategy. Unless you are an expert, find a local California agent that will do this for you.

  7. They don’t know your local health insurance market
  8. What insurance company health plan options, what major medical groups are available, and what networks they accept. This information comes from experience working in the local area. A broker in a call center in another part of the US won’t know the details of your city.

  9. Some nationwide health insurance websites are just “lead capture” engines
  10. These websites exist to collect your contact information and sell the results to multiple brokers. This will flood your phone and email with agents calling to sell you their health plan. Lead Capture websites are easy to spot if you know how. For information about how to spot these sites see our post, “Avoid Rogue Websites“.

    What’s Your Best Choice For Health Insurance Brokers?

    As you can see above, there are limitations on the service and expertise you will receive if you use a health insurance agent that works in every state. The best choice is a local insurance broker that knows your city, the medical groups and hospitals that are available there.

    You should be able to get help to determine what health insurance networks your doctor participates with along with good recommendations on health plans that fit your specific needs. A local broker will be able to do this with you.


    See what makes SPF Insurance different from other California health insurance brokers.

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