Hiring a health insurance broker
Getting help from a broker to investigate and enroll in a group health insurance plan makes sense for many business owners. A health insurance broker will identify one or more plans from different providers and determine which plans best align with your company’s needs. Then, they'll review their findings and recommendations with you.
Get referrals from your peers
Finding a broker is like hiring someone to join your leadership team. You’ll need to check work history and references. You'll also want to understand the broker's compensation. You can ask who pays them, as well as how and how much they're paid. You can find insurance brokers near you by doing an online search — or for a more targeted approach, you can get a referral from another business owner or a recommendation from your attorney or accountant.
Check the broker's references and record
Health insurance brokers are licensed by the states in which they do business. You can confirm that a broker’s license is current and that he or she is in good standing by checking with your state’s department of commerce (the licensing division) or with your state insurance commissioner. An online reputation search can also uncover important information about the broker’s professional and disciplinary record.
Understand how the broker is compensated
It’s critical to understand how the broker is paid before entering into a contract. Brokers are typically compensated by the insurance companies they represent. They often receive a flat fee, a percentage of the contract total, or a fee based on the number of participants in your plan. There should not be any cost to you — the business owner — for working with a broker. But be sure to ask about any additional fees associated with specialty coverage like dental, vision or short-term coverage.
Know who will service your account
Ask about the level of service you can expect to receive, and if you’ll have a dedicated account person assigned to your business. The broker’s role is primarily to find and recommend plans, help you choose the best plan for your business, introduce and explain the plan to your employees, and help with the enrollment process. Unlike a health insurance consultant, who serves as a liaison between you and the insurance provider throughout the year, a broker is less likely to be involved after the enrollment period. Find out how to get assistance and know the name of your contact person in case you need help with claims or with managing your plan.
Understand the terms of your broker contract
Make sure you understand the details of your broker agreement and the length of your commitment. Because health care coverage must be renewed on an annual (yearly) basis, most broker contracts are in place for the same time period. Ask about the details of your agreement and how to formally renew or end the broker contract.
Ask about the renewal process
It’s important to understand the renewal process for your account, and how much notice is required if you decide not to renew with the insurance provider. A reputable broker will contact you well in advance (usually 90 to 120 days) of any renewal deadline. At that time, they may also present updated plan options and pricing, and determine if you want to renew your plan or make changes to your coverage.
Health insurance broker hiring checklist
A health insurance broker can be a valuable partner and trusted resource, helping you find the most cost-effective coverage for your business. Be sure to interview several potential brokers before committing to a contract.
This checklist can help you remember the important points to cover with each prospect. You can also download a copy of the broker hiring checklist to complete during each interview.
Professional record, disciplinary record
Length of contract, out clauses
Learn more about brokers
Before choosing to work with a health insurance broker, read about the process and the broker’s role.
Get coverage for your business
For companies with 2 to 50 employees
For companies with 51 or more employees
Want help finding a plan?
If you want help choosing a health plan for your company, you can work with an insurance professional who may represent a single company, or a broker who may be able to offer more options. Not sure what’s right for you? Call UnitedHealthcare or use the link below to learn more about United Advantage brokers.