Agents and brokers will play a critical role in helping consumers access health insurance coverage through Affordable Insurance Exchanges or Health Insurance Marketplaces, according to an announcement today by The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
“This is great news for consumers” said John B Sullivan, CIC and President of AMERICAN INSURANCE. “Health Care Reform is complicated and confusing. Now individuals, employers and employees can get personalized assistance from trained and certified agents they know and trust. And, the service of the agent will be free to the consumer because product pricing will be the same with or without using an agent.”
In the “Health Insurance Marketplace Guidance” document HHS clarifies that agents and brokers, including web-brokers, are among those who will play a role in educating consumers about Marketplaces and insurance affordability programs, and in helping consumers receive eligibility determinations, compare plans, and enroll in coverage.
Consumers have the choice to use an agent or access health insurance coverage in a variety of ways, including in-person, online, and through telephone support. However, building a relationship with an agent has the added advantage of providing personal service after enrollment. There are likely to be ongoing questions and service needs as things change rapidly with a new distribution system.
Agents will be required to register with CMS and complete Marketplace-specific training so that they may assist qualified individuals for Marketplace coverage. Agent registration and training will begin this summer prior to open enrollment which begins on October 1, 2013.
Source: Department of Health & Juman Services, Health Insurance Marketplace Guidance - May 1, 2013
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