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Final HHS Rules Give States Wide Latitude on Agents and Brokers in Exchanges

Final health insurance exchange regulations released by the Obama administration give states wide latitude in carving out a role for agents and brokers
March 20, 2012

Final health insurance exchange regulations released by the Obama administration give states wide latitude in carving out a role for agents and brokers. The final rule will simplify the process for states’ blueprints for exchanges to be approved and updated. It also “empowers” states to determine a role for agents and brokers—including the use of online brokers.

The state-led approach to addressing the role agents will play once the exchanges go live is consistent with how Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described the department's stance on the issue in past public comments.

In a report issued by Washington Analysis, a Washington think tank for buy-side security analysts and brokers, its analysts say the rules provide great flexibility to the states to carve out a key role for agents and brokers. “We think that this rule sets the framework for more market-driven exchanges than some have feared,” they said. And the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors also sounded an optimistic note. Robert Miller, NAIFA president, says that while NAIFA staff is still analyzing the 644-page document, “we are encouraged by the consistent recognition for the role of the agent and broker.”

Read the entire article on state health exchanges: New HHS Rules Define Producer Role in Health Exchange (National Underwriter 3/13/12)

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