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Prime Real Estate in Crown Point now offers health insurance to all the company's real estate agents, a rarity in an industry where agents are independent contractors who are typically on their own in finding coverage.

“Offering this benefit is rare in our industry and I have heard of few real estate companies doing this,” said Joshua Lybolt, co-founder and president of Prime Real Estate. “We care about our agents and want to offer an affordable plan so our agents and their families can stay healthy and happy.”

A National Association of Realtors survey found that 43 percent of Realtors bought plans on the individual market, while 27 percent were covered under the insurance of their spouse. Between 2000 and 2008, nearly a fourth of Realtors had no health insurance coverage at all, the industry advocacy group reported.

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Those who don't join a spouse's plan or purchase a plan independently now face a penalty fee under the Affordable Care Act.

Prime Real Estate, which has offices in Crown Point, Hobart, Long Beach, Valparaiso, and Schererville, rolled out a health insurance benefit as a way to attract talent. It's offering its real estate agents a plan through United Healthcare that can include options for vision, dental, and $40 co-pays for in-network doctor visits 

“Providing this coverage goes back to our mission of what makes us stand apart,” said Jennifer Trpeski, Prime Real Estate director. “We are also focused on personal development and improving the lives of our agents, this is just one additional way.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.