Q: Now that the state health insurance marketplace (exchanges) are in place, will I still be able to use a broker or get some personal help in choosing a plan?
A: Yes. You’ll be able to use brokers and agents to assist you in purchasing a marketplace policy as long as they are certified by your state’s marketplace. In the 34 states that have either a federally-run marketplace or a state-federal partnership marketplace, CMS has been working with brokers and agents to provide training and certification. In the states that are running their own marketplaces, it’s up to each marketplace to determine the role they want brokers to play, and to provide training and certification.
HHS, CMS and the state-run marketplaces all concur on the importance of an “all hands on deck” approach to enrollment in the marketplaces. The success of the marketplaces depends on getting as many people enrolled as possible, which means the more helpers the better. People will have lots of questions as they go through the enrollment process, and being able to speak to someone about those questions will help 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.