A major player in the benefits market, Towers Watson, has joined the list of companies that say they have signed "Web broker entity" agreements with federal exchange program managers.
Towers Watson still needs to get certified as a federal exchange broker before it can actually sell the plans available through the "federally facilitated exchanges" to be run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS expects to run FFEs in 36 states.
But the agreement should clear the way for Towers Watson to connect its large private Medicare plan exchange program it built for its employer clients with the CMS "data hub" system.
Abouit 85 carriers, 300 employers and 500,000 people are using the Medicare exchange, the company says.
CMS is setting up its hub to help state-based and federally run PPACA exchanges use federal agency information to determine whether consumers are eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, other government health plans, the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health coverage purchase tax credits, or other programs or subsidies.
Two other companies, eHealth Inc. and Getinsured.com, also have announced the signing of Web broker entity agreements.
One of the companies, eHealth, posted a detailed description of its Web entity broker agreement in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Working with the data hub should help the Towers Watson private exchange do more to help client employers' workers learn about and enroll in health insurance programs, the company said.