Health Insurance Agents vs. Brokers

Health Insurance Agents vs. Brokers

A health insurance agent or broker can be a great help when you are shopping for health insurance. Knowing a few things about agents versus brokers can help you find the professional who will best meet your needs. Searching for a health insurance broker in California may seem complicated, but Health For California offers assistance whenever you need a new plan. Health insurance agents and brokers have the licenses and professional knowledge to walk you through each step. Learn the differences between an agent and a broker below.


health insurance agent is a salesperson licensed by the state and represents one or more health insurance companies. They offer insurance plans to consumers for whom they are appointed. An agent cannot charge you a fee for assisting you with your individual or family plan. An agent can be a captive or independent agent. Each one has unique qualities that can benefit different situations.

Captive Agent

A captive agent represents a single carrier. This means that they work exclusively for one insurance company. Some insurance companies only use captive agents to sell their products. They are paid either a salary with commissions or commissions only. They may be employees or independent contractors of the insurance company. A captive agent represents the insurance company and not the applicant. If you decide to go with a specific insurance company, then a captive agent’s in-depth knowledge of that company’s products would be valuable.

Independent Agent

Independent agents offer multiple insurance carriers and earn a commission from insurance companies for the products they sell. Agents are not insurance carrier employees and represent the applicant, not the insurance company. Because they provide more products from more companies, you have more options and can easily find the best plan for you.

Reasons to Choose an Insurance Agent

Choosing between an insurance agent or a broker can be a confusing process. However, there are many reasons to choose a health insurance agent. For example, if you know what policy you want or what company you plan to purchase from, it’s easier to use an insurance agent. Agents can help you sign up for the health insurance plan or compare different policy types and plan levels. They can also enroll you in binding coverage on their own while walking you through provider options that might best fit your needs.


A broker usually has a broker’s license and an agent’s license. Brokers are independent insurance agents who offer multiple insurance carriers’ products and are paid by commissions. They are not employees of the insurance carrier but represent their clients. They often employ insurance agents who help increase their business. Brokers typically offer other types of insurance, such as auto, home or life insurance. This can be an added benefit. Brokers also provide services for employers looking for group insurance and, in this capacity, may be allowed to charge a fee for their services.

Retail Broker

A retail broker works closely with clients to find the best insurance that fits their needs. You can find the right insurance for you through a retail health insurance broker and purchase a plan directly from an insurance company or through a wholesale broker. Retail brokers often work with general insurance plans and easy-to-understand insurance policies with common risk coverage.

Wholesale Broker

A wholesale broker can help you find specialized services and insurance plans to fit your unique needs. Wholesale brokers often sell insurance products and health plans to retail brokers or insurance agents. These brokers don’t often talk directly with policyholders or need to work one-on-one with them to find the right health insurance for their needs. Instead, retail brokers work with clients and contact wholesale brokers when they need to find information on complex risk insurance plans or want to purchase a special insurance product.

Reasons to Choose an Insurance Broker

There are many reasons to choose an insurance broker rather than a health insurance agent for your needs. For example, selecting an insurance broker is a good idea if you are too busy to find a plan or want to explore your options thoroughly before choosing a company. If you like to shop around for different plans, quotes and companies, an insurance broker can help you compare types and collect relevant information to help you search.

Find the Right Insurance Through Health For California

Health For California is a health insurance agency that has been operating since 2004. With help from our licensed professionals, you can find the best insurance policy that fits your unique needs. We make it simple to find quotes, calculate payments and explore new plans. Contact us online to speak to a representative or explore our services online. Get a free quote for yourself or your family and find the right insurance today.

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