Help Purchasing Your Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance can be complex, but if you feel confident buying health insurance for yourself or business employees, purchasing it on your own may be a good option.

However, if you’re like others who don’t feel comfortable making this decision alone, there are people specifically trained to help you select and enroll in the right health plan, including:

  • Agents & Brokers
  • Health Insurance Navigators
  • Certified Application Counselors
  • Insurance Carrier Support Services
Women talking on phone

You Don’t Have To Choose Health Insurance Alone

Whether you use the help available or purchase health insurance yourself, the goal is to have the best plan for your needs.

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A broker usually represents several insurance companies and can help you determine what plan features you can get from different providers.

Brokers generally receive commissions or payments from the companies they represent. They may not sell plans from companies they do not have agreements with. However, in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, brokers are legally required to represent your best interests and help you compare prices between companies.

You can tell a broker what you need and want in a health plan, and the broker will:

  • Find out what options are available
  • Narrow down options to help you make the best choice
  • Work within your budget
  • Not charge a fee for helping you choose a plan

If you’re an individual and would like help finding a health insurance plan, visit . If you’re making decisions for a small business, you can search for professional assistance by:

  • Asking a trusted advisor like your lawyer or accountant
  • Checking with other business owners for references
  • Contacting your state or local association for health underwriters or chamber of commerce
  • Searching for a broker online

Navigators are specially trained to help individuals, small businesses and small business employees find the best health coverage option. The role of a navigator is to provide information you can use to understand your options. Unlike brokers or agents, navigators are:

  • Not allowed to recommend one plan over another
  • Cannot direct you to choose a particular insurance plan
  • Not limited to private insurance plans

However, once you have chosen a plan, navigators can help you enroll. They can also help determine eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare or CHIP. Navigators are funded by federal or state grant money and are free for individuals to consult.

Navigators do not represent insurance companies but your best interests as you choose and enroll in an insurance plan.

If you’re an individual or making decisions for a small business and would like help finding a health insurance plan, visit

Like navigators, certified application counselors receive specialized training to help you choose the best coverage option and complete your application for coverage. They represent your best interests as you select and enroll in an insurance plan.

Certified application counselors will not charge you for their services and are often affiliated with organizations like:

  • Community health centers
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Social service agencies

If you’re an individual or making decisions for a small business and would like help finding a health insurance plan, visit

If you know the company you want to use for health coverage but need help deciding between their plans, directly contacting the company might be your best option. Health insurance companies have people and resources to help you select a plan that covers your unique needs. You can use the tools on the insurance company's website or call their customer service number and ask for help choosing a plan.

If you’re purchasing a plan through your employer, your employer has chosen the health insurance company for you. However, you will likely still have choices to make. In this case, your HR manager can help you select a plan or tell you who to contact at the insurance company to get help.

If you’d like to learn more about CareFirst's health plan options, visit our website or contact us for one-on-one help.

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