How Brokers Help Us Decipher Insurance Plans | WYPR

How Brokers Help Us Decipher Insurance Plans

Credit Credit: Creative Commons / Alan Cleaver

The new health care exchange is compared to travel websites like Expedia. But buying insurance can be more complicated than buying a plane ticket. Brokers can help with that purchase.  Today, we look at the role they are playing in the exchange—and the entire roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

Maryland’s online health exchange, called the Maryland Health Connection, has had many problems since it launched on October 1st.  But despite error messages and wait times, a number of Marylanders have enrolled in plans--more than 31-hundred as of last Wednesday.  

The online exchange has often been compared to online travel sites, like Travelocity.  But, buying a health care plan is more complicated than buying a plane ticket.  Insurance brokers can add value to that transaction--for example, say someone has migraines. maybe they’ll want regular specialist apts and particular drugs.  They have a particular set of care needs—will need certain services and incur certain costs.  A broker could guide that person to the plan best for them. Navigators, in contrast, could only guide people towards plans on the exchange--while a broker could guide a person to any plan, inside the exchange or out.

To tell us more, we have a broker with us. Jay Duke is the Chairman-Elect for the Board of the Independent Insurance Agents of Maryland, and a member of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Producer Advisory Council. He’s also the owner of Waring-Ahearn Insurance Agency, located in Leonardtown in St. Mary’s County

Produced by Stephanie Hughes.

Our series ‘The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.