how your local insurance agent can help you

Whether you need to find new insurance, better insurance or different insurance, the task of researching and understanding the right information can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, there is a competent expert there to guide you: your local health insurance agent.

Health Insurance Plans: So Many Details!

So, you need health insurance. 

In California, this is no longer an option even though the current administration managed to do away with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax penalty for not having coverage. The state of California just passed a new law that goes into effect January 1, 2020 that essentially replicates that mandate.

Tax penalties aside, it makes good sense to have health care coverage, especially if you have a family.

While many employees in California can take advantage of the insurance plan or plans offered through their work, there are situations where you may still want to seek out your own coverage. That’s when an agent is a valuable and vital resource.

And, depending on the size of the company you work for, your employer may not be required to offer health insurance.

According to a post at PeopleKeep.com,

“Although the ACA’s individual mandate was eliminated beginning 2019, the employer mandate is still in place, requiring applicable large employers (ALEs) to provide a certain percentage of their full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees with minimum essential coverage (MEC).

In 2019, ALEs are defined as any business that employed a combination of 50 or more FTE employees during six months or more of 2018. 

Small businesses that don’t meet this definition aren’t subject to the employer mandate and thus don’t have to offer health insurance coverage.”

The SBA estimates that there are over 1,000,000 small businesses in California with employees. Since smaller businesses make up most employers in California with almost seven million employees, odds are high that your employer might not offer health coverage, or the coverage is not sufficient for your needs.

Calling In A Professional

The good news is that you can go to a local health insurance agent to help you through the process of finding and purchasing a plan that is right for you, or for you and your family.

There are many advantages to going with a local agent. Because you are working directly with an assigned insurance agent who is local to your area it’s possible that they may be someone you know personally or know someone who does. 

Another advantage to having a local agent is the accessibility and personal relationship that is so vital when a crisis occurs. Whether it’s an unexpected life change, a move to a new job or a sudden major health issue, having an agent to work with directly can be critical to assuring your insurance needs are met. In addition, a good agent will advocate for you if you have issues with your insurance company. And, because some insurance agents also are licensed to sell multiple products, they can be your one source for all your insurance needs.

Here are a few other ways that your local health insurance agent can help you:

A local health insurance agent does all the hard work for you. Because your local agent understands the insurance industry and which insurers offer specific coverage types. This relieves you from having to spend hours learning about your options and trying to determine the best deals.

Some agents are only authorized to represent one insurance company, which means you can only choose between the policies they offer. However, there are local insurance agents like JC Lewis Insurance that offer California health insurance plans from leading health insurance carriers licensed to do business in California. This makes it possible to personalize your coverage for your specific needs.

Good local health insurance agents know their industry, understand policy terminology, and follows recent changes in health coverage requirements. This means that they can simplify the buying process for you, while providing knowledgeable advice minimizing your costs. They can also answer your questions and explain the more ambiguous aspects of health coverage.

By working with a local health insurance agent, you can build a long-term relationship, which is beneficial over time. Because they get to know you and your insurance needs, they are prepared to help quickly and efficiently when it is time for a necessary change.

What About Covered California?

When you purchase a California health insurance plan today, it is acquired either “on-exchange” or what is referred to as “off-exchange.” Purchasing a health plan on-exchange means that you buy a plan directly through your state or federal government exchange. In California that means going through the state exchange, which is known as Covered California.

Purchasing a plan off-exchange simply means enrolling in a plan directly through an insurance carrier. This option can be done either through the plans offered by your employer, or on your own as we have discussed in this post. 

An advantage of the state exchange is that you may qualify for premium assistance based on your annual modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). This means that your monthly premium will be partially subsidized through tax credits. You can only receive premium assistance when buying a plan on-exchange, that is, Covered California.

A number of residents probably qualify for premium assistance and the Covered California Marketplace may be the best option for purchasing affordable health insurance. This includes individuals, families, and small businesses, all of whom can receive tax credits toward their monthly insurance premiums. Although limited to only choosing a plan from carriers participating in the marketplace, for individuals and families, this currently includes carriers such as Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Western Health Advantage, and Kaiser Permanente among others.

At J.C. Lewis Insurance, our agents are licensed by the state of California and are certified to sell policies through Covered California. In addition, we offer accountability, explanations, and over 60 years of experience in the insurance industry. Contact us today at 866-745-9555 or fill out our online contact form.