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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


If you are looking for a health insurance professional to help with a health insurance decision and to represent you to the insurance company, there are two choices: a broker or an agent.

Using a broker or agent does not cost you money. They are paid by the insurer.

From an insurance buyer's point of view there are two main differences between a broker and an agent:

  • A broker is a free agent who generally works with more than one insurance company. An agent, on the othe hand, is employed by a particular insurance company.
  • Although he or she gets paid by the insurer, a broker is legally required to represent your interests and not to consider the interests of the insurer. An agent works for and owes his or her loyalty to theinsurer.

Brokers will know which companies accept people with a history of a health condition, and under what circumstances. For example, you may be able to get insurance with a "rated premium" -- a premium higher than the average person pays. Or, there may be an exclusion for your condition for a given period of time. Or, the coverage may be limited.

Brokers also know which companies have a reputation for raising premiums or hassling policyholders who file claims. A broker may also be able to help you find a group to join.

You can locate an experienced health insurance broker through the National Association of Health Underwriters ( offsite link).

You don't need to file a formal application to find out if a particular broker can help you. Your broker can find out what you need to know informally, before an application is submitted. All you need to do is tell him or her about your health history and current status.

For more information, see:


  • There is no guarantee that if a broker gets an informal "yes" from an insurance company that the insurer will follow through on what it says informally. However, unless the facts on the application are different from the facts presented informally, companies generally stick to what they said.
  • For information about how to get an understanding of the insurance situation in your state, click here.

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How To Choose An Insurance Broker

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What To Look For In A Health Insurance Broker

 Decide what criteria are important to you. Follwing are criteria to consider:

  • License: Insurance brokers are required to be licensed in each state, it is a given that the broker has to be licensed, and in good standing. It wouldn't hurt to check with the Department of Insurance of the state in which you reside to find out if there have been any complaints lodged against the person you're considering. (For contact information about your state Insurance Department, see: offsite link)
  • Experience: How long has the person been a broker in the area?
  • Expertise: In addition to the expertise required for an insurance license:
    • Does the broker have additional designations showing additional knowledge? In the life and health areas, this would be a designation of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). To find a CLU, see offsite link
    • Has the person worked with people who have a medical condition such as yours?
  • Have complaints been filed against the person with the state insurance department ((locate your insurance department through offsite link or the Better Business Bureau ( offsite link)
  • Easy to talk with? A lot of insurance may seem like Greek to you. A good broker can interpret what you need to know for you, in language you can understand.
  • Responsive. Even during the evaluation process, pay attention to how long it takes the broker to get back in touch with you.
  • Is the broker's physical location important to you? Will he or she come to your home or place of business?
  • How many companies does the broker have access to? The more, the more likely he or she will be able to obtain the product you need at a suitable price.
  • Does size of the broker's business matter to you? The more business the broker does, the more clout it has to get you the coverage you need, at the price you're looking for -- and to help with claims.

Preferably look for a broker who has lots of experience working with people with a history of a health condition. Insurance brokers, attorneys, accountants, social workers or a local disease specific not-for-profit organization are likely to have names for you. Also ask about the experience each person has had with the recommended broker. If you hear good things about one particular insurance broker from lots of different people, look him or her up.

The First Meeting With An Insurance Broker: How To Prepare And What To Ask

Before the meeting, it is advisable to:

  • Make a list of the subjects you want to talk about.
  • Summarize in writing your current and past medical condition so you can accurately describe it to the broker.

At the meeting:

It is preferable to:

  • Ask each broker to assess your needs, and 
  • Come up with a recommendation as to what type of health insurance policy would be best for you. 
  • Ask the broker to get you several competitive offers.


How To Work With A Health Insurance Broker

You don't have to give the broker your real name or make a formal application while checking availability. If you're turned down, it can go on your record for other companies to see [through the MIB (formerly the Medical Information Bureau)]. You can still be turned down even if the broker thinks you won't be, but you can't protect against all risks.

Tell the broker your health history; date you were diagnosed, the treatments you have taken, and your current stratus. Ask whether the broker has any companies that will insure you. If so, since individual health insurance policies are underwritten (priced) on an individual basis, at what cost?

You could also check insurance brokers on line, but you may have to divulge personal information.

Document in writing your communication with any agent or company to help you recall what you were told. If what you talked about was important to you, confirm the information with your broker in writing. For example: "Dear Harry. To confirm our conversation, you informed me that XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. If my understanding is not correct, please let me know. Thank you."

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