How Can I Become a Health Insurance Agent?

Research what it takes to become a health insurance agent. Learn about job duties, employment outlook, education options and licensing requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Health Insurance Agent?

Health insurance agents sell medical, dental, and life insurance to potential clients by explaining different policies and coverage options, and then helping them select and purchase suitable plans. This career typically requires agents to contact new customers, get an idea of their financial situation, help them understand various policies, and guide them as they complete paperwork. Agents usually find possible policyholders by referrals and leads. For current customers, a health insurance agent's job usually only involves modifying and renewing policies.

Look at the following chart for a basic overview of what you need to become a health insurance agent.

Degree RequiredNone required; bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers
Licensure/CertificationLicensure required in state of employment; optional certifications available
Key ResponsibilitiesFind potential clients, sell health insurance, and renew information on policyholders
Job Growth (2014-2024)9% for all insurance sales agents*
Median Salary (2015)$48,200 for all insurance sales agents*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Job Responsibilities Will I Have as a Health Insurance Agent?

As a health insurance agent, one of your duties is to contact and make presentations to prospective clients. After identifying their needs and matching those needs with available products, you'll generate quotes and provide options for coverage. Often, you'll meet with a company's benefits administrator to provide them with health insurance options for their employees. Another responsibility is to maintain ongoing relationships with clients by contacting them proactively about their coverage and serving as their account manager and liaison with the company. You should also stay current on the products available and the regulatory changes that may affect clients.

Where Could I Work?

Health insurance agents can work for a private agency or health maintenance organization or be self-employed representing a variety of insurance products. Larger corporate clients may have an agent who deals exclusively with their needs.

What Education Will I Need?

There's no formal educational requirement to become a health insurance agent, but many employers prefer that you hold a bachelor's degree. Courses in business are helpful and specialized training is usually given by your employer or by the insurance company whose products you represent.

What Certification or Licensing Will I Need?

All states require that health insurance agents be licensed to sell insurance. You'll generally have to complete coursework and pass written examinations testing knowledge of state insurance regulations. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) website offers a listing of all state licensing entities (www.naic.org). You'll need to earn continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain your license and to remain up-to-date on changes in regulations and available insurance products. For this purpose, NAIC offers many online courses in a variety of subjects.

Certification such as the Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) credential offered by the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is sought by some employers and may help you to secure a position or to advance in your career.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a real estate broker and sales agent, you only need a high school diploma to qualify for this job. Professionals in this field are usually self-employed, but licensed brokers run their own business helping customers rent or purchase homes, whereas sales agents operate under the guidance of a real estate broker. Becoming an advertising agent is another similar career where you only need a high school diploma. This career focuses on contacting companies and offering deals for advertising space within various outlets; for example, TV commercials or radio spots. According to yearly median wages recorded in 2015, real estate brokers made $45,610 and advertising agents made $48,490.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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