Q: Now that the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces (exchanges) are in place, can I still use a broker or get some personal help in choosing a plan?
A: Yes, and it’s recommended that you do. You can use brokers to assist you in purchasing a marketplace policy as long as they are certified by your state’s marketplace. HealthCare.gov and all of the state-run exchanges provide training and certification to brokers who wish to work with them, and consumers can seek assistance from those brokers. This section of our open enrollment guide will walk you through the various assistance available in your area.
HHS and the state-run marketplaces have all concurred on the importance of an “all hands on deck” approach to enrollment in the marketplaces. The success of the marketplaces — and the individual health insurance market in general — depends on getting as many people enrolled as possible, which means the more helpers the better. People have lots of questions as they go through the enrollment process, and being able to speak to someone about those questions helps to ensure a smooth enrollment.
There are also navigators who are marketplace employees and are able to provide you with personal assistance. They are not paid on commission, but they are also not allowed to recommend one plan over another. Brokers who are certified by the marketplaces are allowed to recommend the plan that they think will work best for each client’s situation, and are paid on commission by the QHP carriers in the marketplace. Your premium will be the same regardless of whether you use a Navigator, broker, or do the whole thing on your own, so you can seek help in whatever way feels the most comfortable to you.