Getting a Health Insurance Producer License in North Carolina
Note About the Licensing Process
Here is a guide for anyone pursuing a resident health insurance license in the state of North Carolina. Please be aware that prices, along with state laws and procedures may change. Please consult the North Carolina State Department of Insurance/Department of Agent Services for updated information. If you are applying for a license in another state this article may still be helpful, but please know that each state has different rules and regulations.
Step 1: Purchase Pre-Licensing Education
The State of NC requires most health insurance producer candidates to complete an educational pre-licensing course before attempting the state license exam. There are two major companies I am aware of that offer this training completely online and at a competitive price. They are Kaplan Financial Education and Prelicense.com To use Kaplan, go to kaplanfinancial.com, click “Insurance Licensing,” click “North Carolina,” click “Life and Health.” Click here to explore the options at Prelicense.com. Costs range from $70 to $140 varying by company and the number of courses including in the package. You can choose to study only Health; Health and Life; or Health, Life, and Medicare Supplements and Long-Term Care. If you are planning to get licensed for multiple lines of authority, it's a good idea to purchase courses together as it saves money. I encourage you to shop around and find the package and provider that best meet your needs.
Step 2: Complete Pre-Licensing Education
What’s important: the actual course. You must go through each page of the course and spend at least 20 hours in the actual course. Time spent taking quizzes in the question bank or on mastery exams do not count. Once you finish the 20 hours (and read all the pages), you must take the final examination. It might be a good idea to take the mastery exams first, just for practice. The final examination within Kaplan/Prelicense.com is not the State Certification Exam, however. State guidelines require that this exam be proctored by a disinterested third party (this eliminates people like a business partner, boss, or immediate family member). That exam can be re-taken until passed, but if passing the in-Kaplan exam is an issue, then more study is definitely needed. When you finish everything in Kaplan/Prelicense.com, there will be a certificate/form you can print. This form is needed to be able to sit (enter the test center) for the state exam.
Getting Your License?
When do you plan to start the process of gaining a health producer license?
Step 3: Apply for a license With NIPR
NIPR.com is a national clearinghouse for insurance applicants of most states, including NC. Once on the home page, click “Apply for License” and then “Resident Licensing.” Again, find NC, click it then click “Apply Here.” This link takes you to the start of the online form. You’ll need to agree to the terms and conditions. Start by entering basic information; then you’ll select which type of license you wish to apply for (Accident and Health or Sickness). You can also add Life and Medicare supplements and TLC if you choose to take that course in the pre-licensing step. You can always add lines of service later; however, there is a $50 fee on top of the LOA fee just for amending your application, so if you plan to apply for multiple LOAs, apply for all of them at the same time. Complete the form, pay the fee, and wait for a confirmation email that says you are authorized to take the state exam (this can take up to 24 hours, but could be as little as one hour). The cost for just one line comes to a total of $143 (an additional line of service is $50).
Step 4: Get Fingerprinted
You could wait to do this until after step 5, but it usually takes longer, so it’s good to get started. As soon as possible, using the fingerprint package (which you find here: http://www.ncdoi.com/ASD/Insurance_Producers.aspx), go to the nearest Sheriff’s Office (take the forms with you) and get a Live Scan. These prints are sent to the State Bureau of Investigation for a background check. Be sure to send the completed fingerprint package forms (they can be scanned and emailed), to the email address provided on the forms. The background check is said to take 2-6 weeks, but could be as long as 60 days. The typical fee for fingerprinting (at the sheriff's office) is around $10-$15. The state charges $38, but this is included in the initial application fee I referenced above. The list of live scan fingerprint locations (sheriff's offices) can be found here.
Step 5: Schedule and Take the State Exam
Call or go online to Pearson Vue (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nc/insurance/ or call 800-274-0668) to schedule an exam. There are exam centers in most larger cities/towns such as Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Statesville, and Charlotte. Depending on availability, you could be able to reserve an exam time for the next day or it could take up to two weeks. If a time is not available at the nearest location, it might be available at another location in a nearby town. Take the exam and score at least a 70% to pass. The cost per exam—and yes, you can retake if you fail—is $46.
Step 6: Wait
Once you have done all of these steps, the process is out of your hands. You then wait to hear back from Pearson Vue regarding the status of your application. After you receive an email saying that your license is approved, you can print cards immediately and begin transacting health insurance. Of course, an appointment from an insurer is needed and the insurer will most likely require errors-and-omissions insurance.