The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action on federally run insurance exchanges in the 35 states where the federal government will run them. CMS is moving forward on a plan for the signing of agreements with web based insurance brokerage firms for the purpose of enrolling citizens in the exchanges.

Broker websites will be a part of the insurance exchanges for each state making it easier for individuals to get realistic idea and estimate for plan rates, subsidies and eligibility. The sites will also be administered with phone, e-mail, and online chat support. Each site will have linkages to federal data hubs making them information the most accurate and up-to-date. It will also create a more seamless customer experience for those seeking to enroll in the insurance exchanges.

There is opposition to web-based brokers selling exchange plans and making recommendations to consumers. One consumer advocacy group raised concerns that brokers could refer consumers to plans that are not necessarily the best for the consumer but more profitable to the brokerage. Exchange officials in California and New York raised logistical issues as reasons for not allowing web brokers to enroll their state residents.

Two of the brokers are eHealth and, with eHealth being the largest insurance web broker nationally. Brokers will be paid directly on commissions from insurers. The web portals offer one more option for consumers who will be challenged with Exchange enrollment this fall. The difference between brokers and other web based and in-person exchange navigators, the web-based brokers can recommend health plans to a customer. This includes helping those who are eligible to secure subsidies which is advantageous to the government and consumers. To read more on the Exchanges visit Insurance Exchanges Article links on



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