By Jean Chariton

Why should I use a professional insurance advisor? Independent agents represent a number of different health insurance companies and health plans. Under PPACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT, there have been so many dramatic changes in the insurance marketplace. The value of a professional insurance advisor’s role has been increasingly more important to individuals and businesses. They provide and service insurance products with no additional cost to the members or employers and advise you on how to manage risk and make informed insurance choices.

If you missed the 02/15/2015 deadline for purchasing individual health insurance, is it too late for you to buy it now? There are certain life events that may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. This is one of the reasons you need an informed specialist to help you through the maze of insurance regulations.

Should I buy insurance online? Buying health insurance is no different than getting advice from a realtor on buying a new home. You need an expert to help you with the complex benefits so you can understand your medical coverage and protect both your family’s health and their finances. If you have purchased insurance through Covered California and not assigned an agent to your account it is not too late. You can still assign an agent to advise you on the health insurance plan you bought online. Otherwise, you may not have an advisor when and if problems arise.

As Agents we help our clients resolve claims issues, including writing letters to doctor’s offices, hospitals and insurance carriers. We compile documentation to help resolve claims. We constantly resolve billing issues, explain plan designs and options to employees and individuals. As agents we help COBRA-eligible beneficiaries with coverage following the loss of a job. Approximately 80% of our job is done after the enrollment. For over 14 years I have been a licensed Life and Health Agent in California, helping individuals and employers, including groups of over two-hundred people, with their health insurance needs. I have saved employees and individual clients tens of thousands of dollars in physician’s fees and billing errors. Here is just one example of how I helped a couple recently:

Imagine, having your first baby and paying a few thousand dollars to the hospital, as well as the OB/GYN and countless other expenses. You have met what you’ve been told was your maximum out of pocket, only to get another bill for thousands of dollars. This is exactly what happened to my client. The bill was $6,000 from the Anesthesiologist alone. Their office was billing the client asking for payment even when they were not entitled to it. You can imagine how happy these new parents were when I called them and told them the doctor was going to except the out-of-network payment from the insurance carrier as payment in full. Well, I can tell you, I was over joyed to give this couple the news and they were very grateful for all my assistance.

You can check out websites, like Facebook pages or log onto the California Association of Health Underwriters’ local site or the NAHU website for the national list of professional agents. These groups offer broker education and other resources for agents as well as a wealth of information for the consumer. If you have the opportunity to explore these websites they have a whole section on finding an agent, looking for health insuance and coverage for the uninsured. CAHU can help you find an agent near you!

If you have questions or want to make a complimentary consultation with Jean Chariton call 760-656-8956 to set up an appointment.