Affordable Care Act: Getting help from navigators and insurance agents

“Is there a downside of going with a Covered California Insurance Agent to help you choose your health plan and get you through the enrollment process?”


Surfer Dude Needs Help


Dear Surfer Dude Needs Help, 

Covered California does not employ insurance agents. Their staff is navigators or enrollment assistants, not insurance agents. If you work with Covered California’s staff, you should get an entirely objective view of the plans offered. Their staff will not recommend a plan that fits your needs.  They will help you understand the different plan options and will help you enroll.

An insurance agent would make recommendations, based upon your financial, health and personal circumstances. They are paid by the health plan; the rate you pay would not be different (higher) if you use an insurance agent.  You can find an agent to help you.

The exchange’s navigators don’t give advice the way an insurance agent would.  The health reform law specifically allows the navigators to do their work without having to have an insurance license.  Though some navigators may have their license, it is not required.  This is not to disparage navigators; only to tell you what kind of help they are allowed to give, compared to an insurance agent (who is required by the state to be properly licensed, etc.).

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.