The majority of real estate agents are independent contractors of their real estate firms. As an independent contractor, many typically don’t have access to traditional employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance.
Finding affordable health insurance can be a challenge for many self-employed real estate agents. Some have the opportunity to buy into health insurance through their brokerage, a family member’s plan, or the professional organization, National Association of REALTORS. Others turn to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides health coverage for those with a low to moderate incomes.
Affordable Care Act
People who aren’t eligible for insurance that is provided by a large group employer, individual health insurance is a type of policy individuals can purchase for themselves or their family, but these plans can be expensive and coverage limited.
The Affordable Care Act aimed to provide cost effective, quality individual and small group insurance coverage (plans for small businesses or startups) for many who had previously been uninsured.
Provisions included in the ACA were intended to do the following:
- Expand access to insurance
- Increase consumer protections
- Emphasize prevention and wellness
- Improve quality and system performance
- Expand the health workforce
- Curb rising health care costs
As a result of the ACA, more health insurance options are available to independent contractors like real estate agents. We look at some of these below.
Health Insurance Options for Real Estate Agents
Brokerage Health Insurance Plans
Some brokerage firms, such as Keller Williams, offer health insurance options to its associates. They have their own exchange, KW Wellness Benefits Marketplace, that meets ACA requirements. They offer medical, dental and vision care.
Association Group Insurance Health Plans
The National Association of Realtors offers affordable health insurance options to its members through their REALTORS© Insurance Marketplace. This is an e-commerce site that gives members access to health insurance through a private health insurance exchange that meets ACA standards. It also offers group dental and vision insurance.
Other Association Options
Some real estate agents have turned to other associations, such as alumni associations, AAA auto club, and religious groups that allow members to buy group health insurance.
Affordable Care Act Health Exchanges
People can purchase health insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at ACA health exchanges. They can choose from a range of government-regulated and standardized health care plans offered by the insurers participating in the exchange. You can find a marketplace in your state at healthcare.gov.
Getting A Second Opinion
It is always a good idea to get a second opinion from an independent insurance broker. They are impartial and they may be able to connect you to other group insurance plans. At a minimum, you will know if the insurance plan you choose is the right one for you.
You can read more in our recent article, Top 5 Benefits of Using Local Health Insurance Agents.
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