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A recent statement by Joel Ario, head of the insurance exchange bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is sure to calm down the nerves of agents and brokers who were fearing that they might be put out of the work by the Exchange.

Speaking at a conference organized by the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), Arlington, he said, “Each state will be able to define its own exchange Navigator program, and each state likely will have the authority to decide whether its Navigators must be licensed insurance producers. However, the intent of the Navigators is not to replace Agents but to serve hard-to-reach populations not currently served by agents.”

Elaborating on the role of middlemen, he further explained, “States will have to figure out the role of brokers in the individual market and state exchanges, but brokers are almost sure to have a presence in the exchange programs set up to serve small businesses.  I don’t see a conflict between the Agents and the Navigators”…


Ario’s statements were supported by the Iowa Insurance Commissioner, Susan Voss. With her comments that state insurance departments, “just don’t have the people to serve the consumer the way the agents do today,” she seems to have endorsed to role the agents and brokers will play in the effective implementation of the state Health Benefit Exchange.

She said, “State insurance officials understand that an insurance policy is an intricate product that is not easily understood by the consumer, and that the agent’s role is critical to having the consumer understand the available choices.”

With the position of the agents and brokers not being disputed by the most well-known experts, broker portals like the one developed by hCentive as part of its WebInsure State platform have become quite important for states while setting up health insurance exchange. Know about Broker Software for Texas on our website.

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