Evergreen Health Insurance is situated in the old historic Bunkhouse, a picture-perfect setting for a mountain area business, and a perfect metaphor for how Ed Regalado prefers to do business, even in a complex and oft-changing industry like health insurance. “We can do online enrollments, but I prefer to see people in my office,” he says. “And up here, people like to know who they’re dealing with—they want to meet you.”

But small-town friendliness isn’t the only motivating factor. Navigating health insurance, particularly individual plans and Medicare, can be complicated and frustrating. With a real person sitting across a desk from you, it gets a little easier. And when it’s Evergreen Health Insurance, clients are in good hands because individual plans and Medicare are Ed’s specialties.

When it comes to individual health care plans, “there are at least 70-80 plans to choose from in the marketplace,” Ed explains, “and they’re all different! But what works for you might not work for your neighbor. I help people find the plan that works best for them.” What works best for a particular health insurance client includes a lot of variables, and Ed and his team at Evergreen Health Insurance have the right questions to ask to get a clear picture of what each individual client needs. “In my view, everyone who wants healthcare can get it. Almost half of people get insurance through their employer. Another 30 percent or so get it on individual policies, and then 10-20 percent of people are on government programs.” That 30 percent of individual policy shoppers includes many mountain area residents, which is why Ed has poured his time and understanding into the individual plan marketplace, where nuance and know-how make all the difference. “Most people qualify for a generous tax credit, as high as $1000/month for a family of three or four,” he says. “I even have people who don’t pay anything for insurance because the tax credit is more than the cost of the policy.”

Ed entered the health insurance industry over 20 years ago when he moved out from the Chicago area to care for his parents. He worked with his brother’s insurance agency for a time. “I was doing more small businesses, which I enjoyed,” he says. When his brother sold his insurance agency, Ed decided to keep going. “I still had my license. I decided to learn the personal healthcare marketplace, moved to Evergreen where my girlfriend had lived for 40 years, and rented a space out of downtown Evergreen, selling insurance in the individual market.” Timing-wise, this was pretty important, Ed says, as federal regulations had just begun requiring health insurance for all residents.

It was moving to our mountain area that personalized the job even more. “About 90 percent of the people I do business with are in Evergreen and Conifer,” says Ed. “Up here, I know all the doctors, and my clients give me feedback. We are fortunate here that all the practices are pretty good. Being in a small community, I’m up on who people see—doctors, dentists, eye care. I can give more advice from the feedback I receive. It’s an advantage.”

Personal connection drives Ed’s business day-to-day too. “I’m always taking new clients, and I do a lot of consulting over the phone. I try to be a community resource—if they become a client, great!” Ed is happy to share his knowledge and then is available to help navigate the details of each individual plan. “People can call. I’ve got a website where you can request a consultation. But if you live in the Evergreen area, it’s great if we can meet in the office,” he says.

For those looking to get in touch with Ed at Evergreen Health Insurance, learn more at evergreenhealthins.com. Open enrollment begins October 15, but Ed works with individuals any time of year. Call for more information at 303.674.1945.