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I’m self-employed. Is it better for me to buy health insurance through a broker, or through the exchange?

Q. I’m self-employed. Is it better for me to buy health insurance through a broker, or through the exchange?

ACA open enrollment guide

Want more information about the difference between a navigator, a a broker, an agent and a certified application counselor? There’s a full chapter in our The Insider’s Guide to Obamacare’s Open Enrollment. Click the image for a free download.)

A. You can have the best of both worlds – a broker can help you enroll through the exchange, giving you personalized help and recommendations, but also allowing you to get any Obamacare subsidies for which you’re eligible.

If you’re in one of the 37 states where HHS is running the exchange, you can use the “find local help” link on HealthCare.gov. On the left side of the page, they ask if you want to include agents and brokers in your results, and you can select “yes” in order to see local agents and brokers who are certified by the marketplace. You’ll also see all of the Obamacare navigators and enrollment assisters listed, but be aware that they cannot provide any specific plan recommendations.

If you’re in a state that is running its own exchange, you’ll find a similar link on your state’s exchange page, where you can see a list of brokers who are licensed by the state and certified by the exchange.

It does not cost you anything to use a broker, and most brokers who are certified by the exchange are also able to help you compare ACA-compliant off-exchange plans with the options available through the exchange. If your income is too high for subsidies, a broker who can help you shop on and off-exchange will be an excellent resource. If you do qualify for subsidies, a broker can compare the exchange plans in your area and help you determine which one will be the best for your needs

After you purchase a plan, the broker will continue to be your go-to resource when you have questions about your policy, network, or claims – and there’s never a charge for these services.

Read Agents and brokers and navigators … oh my! – a chapter from our free ebook.