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What is a licensed health insurance agent?

The lowdown...
  • Health insurance agents are trained and licensed professionals
  • The licensing process is long and arduous
  • Licensed heath insurance agents are reputable and knowledgeable

Many people are interested in entering insurance sales, for good reason. It has a reputation for being an accessible and lucrative occupation. You do not need a Ph.D. or even a master’s degree to reach the highest levels in this career field. If you do reach the highest level of insurance sales, you can make good money. However, those thinking about entering insurance sales should consider the decision carefully.

While you don’t need an advanced degree to become a health insurance salesperson, you do need a great deal of training and several different licenses from the government. You have to keep in mind that health insurance is vital to people’s lives, and the government wants to make sure that everybody selling it is reputable and knowledgeable.

To this end, everybody attempting to become a licensed health insurance agent must pass an exam administered by the state. The exam differs slightly from state to state, but the substance is much the same.

The differences are related to the slightly different insurance laws that each state has. In addition to the exam, everybody that wants to be a health insurance agent must pass an extensive background check.

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How to Become a Health Insurance Agent

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It is important for people looking to compare health insurance quotes online to understand the process health insurance agents have to go through to become licensed. When they do understand this process, they will be able to buy insurance with greater confidence in their agent.

The first step for those looking to become licensed health insurance agents is to check with their state insurance licensing board for the requirements specific to their state.

Most states award health insurance agent qualifications in a package with life insurance. This means that most licensed health insurance agents are life insurance agents as well.

In addition to specifying whether or not the prospective agent must obtain life insurance qualifications alongside health insurance qualifications, the state insurance licensing board will also provide a list of providers for the various background checks and exams one must take in that state to obtain an insurance license.

This list often includes providers of educational classes, fingerprint background checks, and the providers of the exams themselves.

Health Insurance Agent License Requirements

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Once the aspiring agent has received the list of education, background check, and exam providers from their state licensing board, they must begin working towards fulfilling the requirements.

Most experts recommend that the fingerprint background check be submitted first because this often takes quite a long time. In fact, industry veterans often suggest that the fingerprinting be done at the same time as the aspiring health insurance agent registers for their educational classes, if not earlier.

While passing the background check won’t be a problem for most people, some may find it to be a problem. The various criteria for passing the background check differ from state to state, but generally serious crimes disqualify applicants from becoming licensed insurance agents.

Serious crimes usually consist of felonies, drug offenses, and any financial crimes within the last 10 years.

If you are worried about whether or not you’ll pass the background check, you should check with your state insurance licensing board. They will let you know the exact criteria for passing the background check in the state that you are applying.

Registering as a Licensed Health Insurance Agent

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Once you’ve submitted your fingerprints, register for your classes.

Don’t wait for the background check to finish unless you’re worried that you won’t pass. It may take weeks for the results to come back, and you don’t want to waste time that you could be using to learn about the insurance industry.

There are many different providers of insurance classes. Refer to the list you received from your state licensing board to find one approved to educate aspiring agents in your state. These days, many people choose to take their insurance classes online instead of in-person.

While experts are divided on whether the online classes are as effective as am instructional medium, the important thing is the effort that the students put into learning.

Most states require roughly 40 hours of instruction before students will be allowed to take the exam. Again, this requirement varies by state, so you should check with your state board.

Health Insurance Agent Exams

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The fourth step towards getting a health insurance license is to obtain proof of your education as well as proof of your successful background check.

Proof of a successful background check will be sent to you automatically if you’ve passed. There is nothing more that you’ll have to do.

The proof of education, on the other hand, is often a different story. Most insurance education providers require you to pass a final exam to get your proof of education. Note that this is not the same thing as the state exam given by the insurance licensing board.

Some have criticized this common aspect of health insurance education, but many view the exam required by the class as good preparation for the state exam. If you pass the exam given by the educational provider and get your proof of education, you are finally ready to take your state insurance licensing exam.

The Final Step

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Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, you are finally ready to take the exam given by your state board. Present them with the proof of your education and successful background check, and register for the exam at a time convenient to you. These exams are generally held year-round on weekdays.

Now it’s time for you to actually take and pass the exam. If you worked hard during your education, you have a good chance. A score of 70 percent is considered passing in most states, but you should check to make sure.

If you do pass, you will get a temporary license on the spot. This will allow you to obtain employment as an insurance agent. Your permanent license will be mailed to you in several months.

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