Often times somebody will call an agent or go to directly to an insurance carrier in order to shop for quotes, but when it comes to the health insurance market, the prices are fixed. If you are looking a cheaper price for the same plan, you will not find one. The health insurance plan direct from the carrier, through the local agent, or through the agent 3 towns over are all the same price. There is no difference in price when it comes to the same plan from the same carrier.
A Cheaper Plan
The only way to get a less expensive plan, potentially, is to go with a different carrier. Prices are fixed by the same carrier for the same product, but they are not fixed between carriers. A plan from one carrier could potentially be lower or higher in price than that of another carrier, for a health insurance plan of equal or comparable coverage. This is really the only way that you can shop for quotes. Even then the price savings may only be a few dollars per month and may not be worth the headache of switching to a plan that your doctor may not accept.
What Does Affect The Price?
Health insurance prices are determined by: age, location, level of coverage, and how many people are on the plan.
A 26 year old is going to pay less in premiums than a 64 year old regardless of any underlying health conditions. It is mandatory that all health insurers cover pre-existing conditions. So, even if the 26 year old were a chronic smoker and the 64 year old was in perfect health this would not affect the premium of either person. The 26 year old would pay the rate for 26 year olds in that area, and the 64 year old would pay the 64 year old price in that area.
Rates are also determined by location (county). This has to do with many factors such as competition from other insurance carriers, local legislation, and cost of living.
Our insurance agency is located in Bakersfield, California which is located in Kern County. The health insurance rates in Bakersfield, and Kern county in general, are less expensive than those in say San Luis Obispo county.
A 26 year old client purchasing a health insurance plan in Bakersfield, California, with a silver level of coverage will pay less than a 26 year old purchasing a silver level health insurance plan in San Luis Obispo, California. This is due to all the factors stated above: Competition, legislation, and cost of living.
Level Of Coverage
Ever since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or ObamaCare, was passed health insurance plans have been organized along what are called “metal tiered plans”. The level or value of coverage is characterized by the value of a precious metal. Among them: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
A 26 year old in Bakersfield, California, who buys a plan with Bronze level coverage will pay less than another 26 year old in Bakersfield, California, who buys a plan with silver level coverage.
How Many People On The Plan
If there are more people on the plan the more premium will ultimately be paid. This is probably the most straightforward factor affecting health insurance rates.
So a 26 year old in Bakersfield, California, who is trying to cover their 26 year old spouse/or domestic partner and 3 minor children on a bronze level plan will pay less than another 26 year old in Bakersfield, California who is covering their 26 year old spouse and 4 minor children on a Bronze level plan.
Service Is The Differentiator
Since price is the same, for the same product from the same carrier in the same area, the only differentiator is the quality of service. When prices are the same the only way to differentiate oneself is with quality of service such as: getting back to someone with a quote in a timely fashion, responding to emails, picking up the phone when it rings, having licensed agents ready to answer any client questions. Consumers looking for health insurance used to shop for the best quote, but now they should be looking for who provides them with the best level of service.
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If you are still confused about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)/ObamaCare or would like a consultation to determine what health insurance plan is right for you, please don't hesitate to contact The Lynn Company at 661-873-2200 for more information on Health Insurance