Insurance benefits can be bewildering at the best of times. We help individuals and families meet the tax mandate to get covered while balancing out available options and finding the best overall solution to match your needs and budget. We are Certified Insurance Agents with Covered California, as well as with all major carriers outside of the Exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions about Individual & Family Insurance

Nothing. A broker's services are always free to the consumer. We are paid by the insurance vendors, and it is a large part of our job to service your account and help resolve any issues that may arise.

Coverage can be provided by an employer or purchased on the open market. There is a narrow window each year to sign up for coverage, and it is not generally possible to get coverage outside that time frame unless there is a qualifying event. The next open enrollment period for coverage starting in January of 2016 runs from November 1st 2015 to January 31st 2016.

There are a wide variety of Qualifying Life Events that could permit you to buy coverage on the open market or through Covered California. Generally speaking you may qualify for any involuntary loss of coverage, significant income change, getting too old to stay on a parent's plan, changing residency or marital status, having a child, acquiring citizenship, and many others. Covered California provides a useful reference for the types of qualifying events.

No. Under the Affordable Care Act, there are no health questions asked and no effect on rates if you have a condition.

It varies depending on the plan. Similar to your insurance, a deductible is the amount you pay in full up front before the insurance company steps in and pays the lion's share of the costs. However, there are some services that you pay for on a strict copayment structure that you do not need to meet the deductible for. These include almost all basic medical visits.

The amount you typically pay for office visits, laboratory tests, X-rays and prescriptions. After you pay the copay for these services, the insurance company typically pays the remainder. There are different copays and limits for out of network care, so try to stay in network whenever possible.

This is the maximum amount you could be required to pay out for claims incurred during any calendar year, provided that you are only using in-network services. The maximum is considerably higher if you use non-network services, so try to stay in the network.

In some plans, these providers are not covered at all. In other plans, they are covered to a much lower level. It is highly recommended not to go out of network if at all possible. If you must see an out of network provider for an emergency issue, this would be paid as an in-network expense.

These claims will often be declined or considered as out of network. Please use our services to help you attempt to get reimbursement on an in-network basis. We have a good track record with helping sort out claims problems, although we cannot guarantee this will always work out.

There is a requirement under the Affordable Care Act, frequently referred to as Obamacare, that all legal residents of the USA have coverage compliant with the new plan requirements. There are tax penalties for deciding not to purchase insurance. For members with coverage starting in 2015, this is 2.0% of your overall income, or $295, whichever is larger. For coverage beginning in 2016, the penalty will be 2.5% of your overall income or $695, whichever is larger.

To get a quick idea if you qualify for a subsidy, please visit the Covered California Shop and Compare Tool. If you are not eligible for a subsidy, you can actually apply online for many plans available through our quote page, or contact us to walk you through it. If you are eligible for a subsidy and have a qualifying life event, we would be happy to assist you in signing up for a Covered CA plan.

Not all doctors contract with all plans, it's best to check out provider directories and to double check with your doctor before scheduling any visits.