Having healthcare cover in place is a priority for many people when planning a move abroad, where the destination’s health system might be unfamiliar and there could be long waiting times for medical treatment.
Purchasing a private medical plan can be a big task, which is why many people opt for the help of a broker. We’ve put together this guide to give you an idea of what health insurance brokers do in their role and how they help clients.
A health insurance broker is a professional who acts on behalf of their client, which could be individuals, families, couples, or businesses, to navigate the market to secure them a health insurance plan that suits their needs and preferences.
They assist clients throughout the entirety of the insurance buying process and are often paid commission by the insurance company once a client has bought a health insurance plan, which means their clients receive their services for free.
However, in some instances you may have to pay a fee to use a broker. This depends on the individual broker and they will advise the client from the offset if they are going to charge any money for their assistance.
Health insurance brokers have lots of different responsibilities within their role. Below are some examples of tasks they will perform to support their clients.
One of the primary undertakings of a health insurance broker is to find a health insurance plan for their client that is right for them, such as identifying product benefits that would best suit their needs.
During the process, brokers can perform price comparisons of different health insurance covers, as well as negotiate the premium amount. Insurance brokers also usually have good relationships with providers in the industry, which helps them to obtain good prices.
Another task completed by insurance brokers will be collecting information from the client. This could include finding out how many people the cover will be for or if they have any pre-existing medical conditions.
This will help to inform the broker’s research process, as they will look for policies based on these details. This is important because various factors can impact the cost of the health insurance premium, such as geographical location, age, and medical history.
Additionally, health insurance brokers are also responsible for giving continued support to their clients whenever they need it, whether that is during the renewals process, claims reimbursement, or simply answering questions.
The remit of their role is broad, and they have a legal obligation towards their client to always act in their best interests; those acting in this capacity must also be registered on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Financial Services Register.
Have a look at our blog about what is involved in renewing your expat health insurance blog for more information about this.
Though both a broker and an agent can help you purchase international health insurance, the roles are not the same.
A health insurance agent is a professional who supports their client in finding the best available policy from the insurance provider(s) they represent, and their area of specialist knowledge is with the plans provided by them.
A health insurance agent will usually fall into two categories: captive or independent. A captive agent is someone who works exclusively for one company, while an independent agent may operate for multiple businesses.
Meanwhile, a health insurance broker will look at products on the market that are offered by a variety of different insurers as well as use their industry expertise to find a plan that meets their client’s pre-requisites.
Below are some of the main benefits customers can find when they choose to purchase a private medical insurance plan through a broker.
One of the benefits of using an international health insurance broker is that it can save you money, as they are able to locate a plan in the marketplace that matches your budget.
Due to their industry expertise, brokers have a strong understanding of costs in the market, which can make the purchasing process quicker. Additionally, they are able to get other insurers to price match to secure the best deal for their clients.
The process of moving abroad can be quite stressful and you can easily get overwhelmed with the sheer number of products on the market.
It may take you a lot of time to research different health insurance options, and there are often numerous and confusing documents to read. Enlisting the help of broker can save you a significant amount of time, as they will cover this as part of their service.
Another important benefit of using a health insurance broker is their specialist knowledge of the health insurance industry, so they can help you navigate its complexities of the insurance market.
They are also very useful when it comes to explaining difficult terms in international medical insurance plan documents to enable you to better understand what is included in the cover and if there are any stipulations.
For some tips on what else to prepare if you’re considering a move to another country, take a look at our ultimate moving abroad checklist.
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