Shopping for health insurance is a daunting process that has gotten more confusing, as plans that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s benefit requirements for comprehensive insurance become more available. If you’re shopping for full health insurance, your best bet is to be a smart and cautious shopper. Here are some tips:
1. Check the URL
The best way to know you’re in the right place is to double (triple!) check the URL, which is the website address. The federal marketplace website is healthcare.gov. Search engine ads often use healthcare.gov in the hyperlinked text that people click on to get to the website, but look closely at the URL just below to see the actual website address.
2. Check for a Disclosure
Insurance quote websites are required to note that they are not affiliated with the government, though this detail is often in small print at the bottom of the page. The privacy statement at the bottom will give more information about who owns the website.
3. Don’t Give Out Your Phone Number
Healthcare.gov doesn’t ask for your phone number on its homepage so that an agent can call you. If an agent calls to help you sign up for insurance, it is a private broker.
4. Research the Agent
Search by the agent’s name on the Ohio Department of Justice’s website (https://gateway.insurance.ohio.gov) to see if their license is up to date. Once you see the agent’s name, click “View Profile” and navigate to the bottom of the page, where it says “Appointment Information” to see which insurance carriers he or she has relationships with. If none of them are major medical insurance companies, your agent won’t be selling you comprehensive health insurance.
5. Think On It
Brokers selling insurance over the phone can be convincing and pushy — but you’re not obligated to hand over your credit card number right away. Insist on having the contract agreement emailed or mailed to you, to review carefully, before signing.