On December 7, 2012 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule that advises States to consider broker compensation as a parameter when issuing Quality Health Plan (QHP) certifications to health plans that are keen to market their health products at the Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) and Federally Facilitated-SHOP Exchanges (FF-SHOPs). The Government believes that the proposed rule would help synchronize and regulate the State’s local Exchange and non-Exchange insurance markets.

The rule proposes that a QHP certification, granted by a FFE and/or a FF–SHOP, should be issued to health plans on the condition that they pay equivalent broker compensation for QHPs sold through the federal exchanges and similar plans offered outside the exchange markets. While this may appear to be another restraining federal mandate, the ruling may really prove to be a blessing in disguise!

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