When one enrolls into a plan through an agent licensed, appointed and certified with the company that agent will be designated as the Agent of Record for the customer.
Agents of Record (aka AOR) have standing with the company, meaning only an AOR can contact and discuss business concerning the customer on their behalf with the company.
By law, Agents are paid by the company not by the customer, ever. The pricing is the same whether you have an agent or not. Another way of saying this, is an agent's is always free to you.
As we all know, an agent can have many one year experiences or experiences of many years. Most agents, over the years, learn from a variety of experiences. All of which is absolutely no cost but benefits the customer.
Agents can be captive or independent. Captives only represent that company.
Independents represent several companies. Giving you choices. Each business model has its advantages.
Only the customer can decide whether one wants having a local person to talk business with or whether one wants to
deal with the company directly. Here, too, each side has advantages.