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Insurance agents want to help federal insurance exchange website

Insurance agents around the country say they feel helpless to assist their clients in obtaining coverage through a Healthcare.gov plan while also earning their commissions due to the structure of the marketplace, The Associated Press reported.

Many insurance agents have called upon President Barack Obama to allow them to bypass the federal website and enroll customers themselves as concerns about the validity of the federal exchange portal grow. One agent, Kelly Fristoe, told the AP he spent half an hour helping a customer choose a plan when the site froze. Fristoe then called the site’s hotline only to be denied as a credited agent on the application, meaning he would lose his commission and if an error occurred he wouldn’t be contacted. 

The frustrations have been echoed by some of the 70,000 certified insurance agents and brokers who are qualified to sell health insurance, a practice they have built their livelihood on. Yet in some regions, like Wilson, Penn., brokers and agents have set up shop inside local grocery stores, coffee shops and other frequented establishments to establish a visible presence in the community. They want residents to know they can act as facilitators in acquiring coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Leigh Valley Morning Call reported. 

“Certainly, there are thousands and thousands of brokers out there compared to a relative handful of [ACA] navigators,” said Tim Jost, a health law professor at Washington & Lee University. “They are one of the key parts of the strategy to get people enrolled.”

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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