Question: What do the HHS interim final rules mean to California brokers? Is there anything new there?
Answer: Yes. There is very definitely some new and potentially positive clarification of the brokers’ relationship with the individual Exchange. The “Interin Final Rules” (typical government term - how can something be both final and temporary?) released by the HHS last week, mention agents and brokers in section 155.220 as follows:
- Exchanges may allow agents and brokers to enroll individuals in Exchange coverage under specified conditions, and
- Gives the Exchange the ability to allow private insurance websites to enroll individual exchange coverage but the websites must have all of the information about Qualified Health Plans that are on the Exchange website.
Also good news in what was omitted from the rules - the feds did nothing to limit broker compensation. It was thought they might. Instead, broker compensation was passed on to the states. This follows the trend established with the essential benefits ruling, giving a great deal of flexibility to the states.
Brokers have a lot of work to do with the state exchanges to make them appreciate the vital role we play.