One of the big questions surrounding the Health Insurance Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act is whether licensed health insurance agents will be able to sell plans inside of the exchanges. I sat in on a recent Covered California webinar dedicated to answering this and many other lingering questions posed by licensed health insurance agents.
In or Out?
Michael Lujan, Director of Sales & Marketing for Covered California, (California’s version of the exchange) quickly eliminated any doubts as to whether licensed health insurance agents would be able to lend their knowledge and expertise to Californians seeking to take advantage of the new health care law:
Covered California is fully embracing using licensed agents.
That just about settles it, right? Throughout the webinar, Mr. Lujan gave a refreshingly candid defense of California’s health insurance agents. He described how Covered California is going to rely on agents to be a large part of the force that will get the word out to California’s 5.3 million uninsured. That group needs to know that there is a plan for each and every one of them. He went on to praise licensed health insurance agents as “trusted advisers”, “savvy marketers”, and “experts in both individual and group markets”.
Getting Up To Speed
We appreciate the praise but we also realize that most of the state’s licensed health insurance agents are not active and, therefore, may not be a reliable source of information on Covered California plans. That is why active agents that want to sell plans inside the exchange will have to undergo at least 8 hours of state training and then pass a test to become exchange certified. Once they are, the exchange will work very much like the traditional health insurance marketplace today. Agents will be contracted with the participating insurance companies and will be compensated using the same commission structure as non-exchange business.
Count Us In
We at CaliforniaHealthInsuranceAgents.com, powered by Alandale Insurance Agency, plan to take the training as soon as it is ready, which is likely in August of 2013. Expect our licensed staff to become exchange certified this summer and ready to do our part by helping get coverage for California’s 5.3 million uninsured.