By Jack Craver
Insurance brokers and agents shouldn’t feel left out of Obamacare
So said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Healthcare.gov, at a recent gathering in Baton Rouge, La. hosted by the Louisiana Association of Health Underwriters.
Although he emphasized that new tools on the federal website have made it easier for consumers to pick out health plans on their own, he said they still need help and believes they will continue to turn to brokers, reports the Advocate.
Broker concerns about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are nothing new.
They have voiced concerns about the law reducing their role in getting consumers health care and bemoaned the decreased commissions they’re getting from insurers.
In recent months, however, there has been evidence that brokers are feeling more confident about PPACA.
A survey by Aflac in August found that more than half of brokers expressed confidence about the future
d of their firms, while a substantial minority –– 41 percent –– saw PPACA as a business opportunity rather than an obstacle.
That was only a year after a similar survey found roughly half of brokers were considering leaving the industry, at least in part due to concerns about PPACA.
Agents, reports the Advocate, have complained about some large carriers, including Humana UnitedHealthcare, cutting them out of the process entirely.
Counihan was apparently receptive to the concerns, and said he would look into the issues raised by the 20 agents and brokers in attendance.
But he also told them that insurance
companies squeezing their profits shouldn’t be a surprise. Insurers always seek to pay as little as possible for everything, he said, the Advocate reports.
At another event, Counihan said he was happy with how the federal website was working.
"The website is working very well this year," he said at a gathering in Biloxi, Miss., according to the Biloxi Sun Herald. "It's stable, and it's working faster than before, even with 40 percent fewer servers. I think the question about stability of the system has been asked and answered."
Originally posted on BenefitsPro.com