Working with a Broker or Association

As a business owner, you may have many concerns and questions about how to provide the best healthcare plans for your employees. We can help! Here are several options for purchasing employee benefits, depending on your needs:

Buy directly with Delta Dental
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Buy insurance through an Association or professional Organization
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Buy insurance through a Broker
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What is a broker and what do they do?

An insurance broker/producer is a licensed, educated benefits professional who helps businesses manage the insurance selection process from start to finish. The profession is highly regulated and monitored by the OIC or Office of Insurance Commissioner The Office of the Insurance Commissioner oversees Washington's insurance industry to protect consumers and make sure companies and producers (also known as brokers) follow the rules. Purchasing health insurance can be a complicated process. Using an insurance professional familiar with industry terms, contracts and options can help business owners sift through available choices to find a healthcare plan that fits within a specific budget, organization, or personal need.

How does a broker get compensation for their work?

Insurance brokers act independently and separate from insurers, such as Delta Dental of Washington. If you’re working with an insurance broker, they will offer an array of plan choices that they are licensed to sell. Brokers’ services are usually paid by the carrier or insurance plan as a commission.

The Benefits of Using a Health Insurance/Employee Benefits Broker

When you purchase health insurance through a licensed broker, you get the peace of mind in knowing that your individual or employer-sponsored plan has been reviewed by an insurance professional.
Brokers offer these other valuable benefits:

  • Streamlined Support: Plan holders have a designated contact person to help solve problems like issues with claims payments, coverage eligibility and access to care — information that might not be easily found on a website.
  • Personalized Recommendations: Brokers can explain the pros and cons of different benefits packages. They offer personalized advice to help select the right plan.
  • Provide Specialized Health Insurance Knowledge: Brokers can help you understand key healthcare coverage terms and help you make sense of your available options. Brokers can also review current options and suggest changes or addition plans to support your needs.

What to Expect When Working with a Broker
  • Brokers should have an in-depth understanding of employee benefits plans, as well as the skills to articulate them in a way that is easy to understand. Your broker should do more than produce insurance quotes – they should be focused on aligning your benefit plan options with your medical, dental, vision and financial needs.
  • Brokers should be responsive to your communications.
  • Brokers should connect you with an insurance company’s internal benefits representative. This point person should be accessible and easy to reach and be able to answer any benefit questions you have.
  • Brokers should give you information and educational materials detailing your benefits, coverage, and provider network.

Your health insurance broker must ensure your plans are compliant with federal and state laws.

Any insurance provider will share all benefit information freely -- nothing is secret. However, some of the language and industry jargon is not always easy to understand. A broker is familiar with these terms, and they will guide you through the entire process.

How do I find a broker to help me?

To find the right broker for your needs you can start by asking colleagues, friends or family members about their experiences or recommendations. Feel free to contact us directly if you need a recommendation for your location. Licensed brokers should be registered on the OIC website You can search by location, type of service needed or broker name.
How do I find a broker to help me?

The search produces a list of companies and agents for review. Choose one and call to investigate if they can assist in your search for coverage.

Small Group (groups with 2 - 99 employees)

Western Washington Phone: (206) 528-5335
Eastern Washington Phone: (800) 564-8832

Large Group (groups with 100+ employees)

Western Washington Phone: (206) 985-5917
Eastern Washington Phone: (800) 564-8832

What are Association Health Plans or AHPs?

Association Health Plans (AHPs) are a valuable resource for small businesses that allow employers to pool their employees as a larger group. AHPs are one of the best available solutions for small to medium sized employers seeking high quality and cost-effective employee benefit programs.


  • Allow smaller companies to access the health insurance benefits and savings associated with large groups.
  • Allow multiple employers to pool their employees as a large group.
  • Combine multiple lines of coverage, like medical, dental, vision, life, and disability, into a consolidated administrative platform.

What are some Associations that I may know?

Association plans may be available through your local Chamber of Commerce, or they may exist within a particular trade, such as the construction, automotive, technology or manufacturing industries. Some Washington state associations accept a diverse array of non-industry specific small businesses and organizations.

How do I find an Association?
  1. Ask your current broker about rates through an association program.
  2. Reach out to an association directly for resources.
  3. Talk to your local chamber of commerce or industry trade group for resources.
  4. Reach out directly to us: For a complete list of our Associations and Professional Organizations please contact: