Health care insurance is becoming far more oriented towards consumer choice these days. The internet is a great place to find information about different health care plans and companies, but some people still need someone to guide them through the sometimes-confusing path to finding the right fit for them. This where the health insurance planner comes in.
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Assistance from a professional in the field can give people the tools and advice needed to make good decisions regarding their health insurance and benefits choices.
What do health insurance planners do for people?
The primary function of a health insurance planner is to provide their clients with information on health care insurance plans and options.
They will provide you detailed information of many different plans, the options those plans have and the costs and methods of payment for them. They will ask questions to better assess you and your family’s situation and needs for now and in the future. Be prepared by finding out what documents you will need to have with you when you meet with your health insurance planner.
Why would I want to use their services?
Simply put, to get the best possible deal for yourself and your family and to make sure that all your needs are covered. A professional health insurance planner is trained to check every detail and keeps up with changes in the industry in ways that the rest of us don’t.
Employers are offering more health care choices to their workers these days and there are many options that must be considered when enrolling in any workplace plan. Be aware that the company human resources personnel will be limited in what they can do in advising you. For the most part, they can ensure access to information, but they do not involve themselves in your decision making process.
This is in largely due to potential liability they may expose themselves to and conflict of interest considerations. They can answer questions with objective facts, but don’t offer opinions based on their experience.
You may not be aware of options in your existing health care plan, private or employer provided, that could lower your costs and provide you greater financial security. You may not know about possible group participation that can save you money.
If you are buying health insurance on your own, chances are you are not an expert in the insurance field and could use some professional advice. Informed decisions are always best and the more information you have, the better choices you will make for you and your family. You should seek out a reputable and knowledgeable planner to assist you. Your network of family, friends, and coworkers may provide you with some names to check out.
What do they typically charge?
Fees for health insurance planning will vary and can be based on an hourly rate or a set amount for a consultation. These fees can also be based on pay for performance model. If the health care planner is also selling or recommending insurance products or services, they will most likely be receiving commissions that pay for their services. They can also be paid from a combination of fees and commissions. Be sure to ask any potential planner how they are paid, and what the cost to you is if any.
Is there any certification or accreditation that identifies professionals in the field?
Yes there are. The most important one is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, which is internationally accredited and is granted by the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC). You should note that health insurance is only one area of a CFP’s expertise.
A certification that specializes in dealing with senior citizens is granted by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. Another such certification in Canada is the Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS). This program was created by The Institute for Advanced Financial Education, which sets standards and establishes the of methods practice of financial advisors in the health insurance field.
How can I find a health insurance planner?
A good source is the Financial Planning Association.
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