Improvement on Health Insurance Exchange
The role of agents and brokers was dramatically improved when the Senate Commerce Committee adopted an MIIAB endorsed amendment to the Senate's Health Insurance Exchange bill, Senate File 1. The bill as introduced who would have required insurance producers selling HIX insurance products to basically work for the exchange and be paid directly from the exchange. This provision of the bill was removed. It was replaced with language that instead allow insurance producers to continue to work with appointed health insurance carriers and be paid by the carriers. Levels of compensation would be between carriers and their appointed agents and will not be set by the HIX. This development was a very positive for the goal of agent participation within the exchange and assures that agent compensation will be market based and will be identical for products sold within the exchange and outside the exchange in the private market.
Agents may choose whether they wish to participate with the insurance exchange. However, if an agent wishes to become eligible to sell individual or small employer products through the exchange must be "certified" by the exchange. The commissioner of Management and Budget, the agency that will establish the exchange, in consultation with the commissioner of Commerce within 30 days of this legislation passing, must develop requirements for certification. The training and education required for certification must qualify for continuing education and would comply with current CE requirements administered by the Department of Commerce. The hours of training required for certification will be determined by Commissioner of Management and Budget.
The Health Insurance Exchange will employ navigators to assist individuals in purchasing insurance through the HIX. They will be very much involved in placing qualified individuals through the exchange into applicable Medicaid. However, they will not be able to recommend or sell individual health insurance products offered by qualified HIX health plans. Agents could also choose to become navigators and enroll individuals into state health programs but compensation would come from the exchange.