A Health Insurance Guide for Real Estate Agents
Health insurance is one of those benefits that you don’t think about until you need it. If you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent, “do real estate agents get health insurance?” may not be a top-of-the-list question. That’s why health insurance for real estate agents is a must. The last thing you want to do is leave your health and financial future to chance, especially if a major medical situation arose.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 22-33% of its members are uninsured every year. In other words, you’re not the only one who may be struggling with real estate health insurance! Insurance for real estate agents can be difficult to understand, so we put this guide together to help you take control of your health.
If your insurance isn’t provided by your brokerage or real estate affiliation group, talk to a health insurance broker. They can help you find the plan and insurance carriers that work best for you and your family members.
Real Estate Health Insurance - Understanding Your Options
When considering insurance for real estate agents, it’s important to know that you have options; just because a real estate health insurance plan works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you. Each individual is different, so naturally, each plan will be different. Discover the plan that will work best for you by evaluating what it offers, how much it costs, and your healthcare needs.
For reference, eHealth determined that the average national cost for health insurance was $456 for an individual and $1,152 for a family per month in 2020. Now that you have an idea of the general cost, here are just some of the options available when it comes to insurance for real estate agents.
Affordable Care Act
Even if you don’t know much about health insurance, open enrollment, or the various plans for real estate health insurance, you’ve likely heard of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This federal statute passed the 111th U.S. Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on 3/23/2010. According to the ACA website, the Health Insurance Marketplace® is a “service available in every state that helps individuals, families, and small businesses shop for and enroll in affordable medical insurance.” The Marketplace is accessible through websites, call centers, and in-person assistance.
The site offers a quick start guide and allows you to see medical plans and prices, which can tell you how much you can save on real estate health insurance. Whether you can apply for qualified health plans within these programs depends on your expected income, household members, and other personal information. After you identify an ideal plan for you, save it and see if you can find a better one. Remember: You need to know the scope of your options to ensure you’re picking the best plan to suit your needs. But checking out what the ACA has to offer is a good first step when thinking about health insurance for real estate agents.
You probably just asked yourself how much the ACA costs per month. As of 2020, there were more than 9.2 million people receiving premium subsidies in the ACA exchanges nationwide, and their average subsidy amount was nearly $500 per month. NPR also reported in Dec. 2020 that enrollment and premium prices are not forecast to shift much in 2021. So, while costs and subsidies will vary based on the state and individual, the ballpark cost is $500 in subsidies per month, and experts don’t expect that figure to change in 2021.
Association Group Insurance Plans
As for health insurance for REALTORS®, NAR has you covered. Known as the REALTORS® Insurance Place, NAR has provided an insurance shopping site and creative coverage solutions available for its members, also known as REALTORS®, and their families. The REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace, as the site says, “offers exclusive health, dental, and vision insurance coverage, plus telemedicine and a variety of wellness solutions – all with unique benefits for NAR members. Here you will find plans for all stages of life and even an offering that extends to your pets.”
It’s important to note that terms, conditions, and limitations apply based on state insurance laws, individual eligibility, and age requirements. But when it comes to the health insurance for REALTORS®, the Insurance Place is a great option to explore.
While the site doesn’t offer pricing, you can source a variety of quotes for health, dental, vision, and even pet insurance and compare the available options to find what works best for you and your family.
Brokerage Insurance Plans
The brokerage you work for can also help when it comes to health insurance for real estate agents. At big brokerages like Coldwell Banker and REMAX, “do real estate agents get insurance?” isn’t a question you will have to ask yourself - yes, you’re covered! In fact, that’s the case for most brokerages as it's typical that they offer association health plans. In this scenario, you simply pick what’s best for you and/or your family from the insurance options provided by the brokerage. During your interview to find the right brokerage, be sure to ask about their insurance for real estate agents to help secure core health insurance.
Private Market Insurance
You may be wondering to yourself what your options for real estate health insurance are if you don’t fall into one of the above categories. Perhaps you’re not a member of NAR, or you don’t work for a brokerage that offers health insurance for real estate professionals. In this case, your next step will be to examine health insurance options in the private market.
One perk of using the private market to find health insurance for real estate agents is the high level of control you have over your plan. In most cases, you’re not locked into a time frame of when you have to purchase private insurance.
In terms of the healthcare cost for private insurance, Investopedia referenced a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation from 2019 and stated that the average cost of individual health insurance was $440 per month if you were to purchase your own insurance outside of an employer-sponsored plan. For families, the average monthly premium was $1,168. Again, the cost will vary by state and individual. Due to the high levels of variability, it’s important to get multiple quotes and compare them when it comes to finding health insurance for real estate agents to ensure that you find the best plan for you and your loved ones.
Health Insurance Basics
We know that health insurance for real estate agents can be confusing. To help you get a better grasp of this complicated topic, here are some basic terms that everyone should know when shopping for real estate health insurance.
The following information comes from HealthCare.Gov:
A deductible is the amount that you pay for covered healthcare services before your insurance plan starts to pay. The site adds that after you pay your deductible, you usually pay only a copay or coinsurance for covered services. As you peruse different insurance options, the goal is to avoid a high deductible.
A copay is the fixed amount you pay for a covered healthcare service after you've paid your deductible. For example, let’s say your real estate health insurance plan’s allowable cost for a doctor’s office visit is $150. Your copay for a doctor's visit is $25. If you haven’t met your deductible, you’ll pay $150. If you have met your deductible, you’ll pay $25, typically at the time of the visit.
Coinsurance is the percentage of costs of a covered healthcare service that you’ll pay after you've met your deductible. As an example, let's say your health insurance plan's allowed amount for an office visit is $100 and your coinsurance is 20%. If you've paid your deductible, then you pay 20% of $100 or $20 for the covered service.
An out-of-pocket maximum is the most you can be asked to pay for covered services in a plan year. After you spend this amount on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for in-network care and services, your health plan pays 100% of the costs for covered benefits.
A premium is the price you pay for your health insurance coverage every month. In addition to your premium, you usually have to pay other costs for your health care, including your deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. If you have a Marketplace health plan, you may be able to lower your costs with a premium tax credit.
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. As you may guess from the name, this is a type of health plan that contracts with specific medical providers to create a network of participating providers. While you will pay less if you use providers that belong to your plan's network, PPOs may provide some coverage for out-of-network providers as well.
Whether you enroll in Medicare, an insurance plan exclusively for NAR members, or secure an association health plan, it's crucial to be aware of the options at your disposal to pursue the best insurance plan that fits your needs. Regardless of which insurance products you choose, having a better understanding of the real estate health insurance landscape will help you feel confident that your health is in good hands.