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The Role of Health Insurance Brokers: Providing Small Employers with a Helping Hand

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Publication Date: October 2002

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Leslie Jackson Conwell

Series: Issue Brief No. 57

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief

Abstract:

Insurance brokers play an important role in helping small employers find affordable health coverage for their workers and dependents. While there are costs for using brokers, an examination of the role of brokers in 12 nationally representative communities by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) indicated that brokers provide valuable services to small firms, such as obtaining prices for coverage, explaining benefits to employees and problem solving for employers. In some markets, brokers also helped educate employers and employees about state policy initiatives to expand coverage. In contrast to the notion that brokers merely make insurance more costly, these findings suggest brokers can provide important benefits to small employers, plans and policy makers.