Managers of the public health insurance exchanges run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have started registering agents and brokers for 2015. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of HHS, oversees the HHS-run public exchanges. The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), a division of CMS, manages day-to-day HHS exchange operations.
CCIIO has posted an explanation of the exchange producer registration process here. Producers can register to serve individuals only, small businesses only, or both individuals and small groups.
HHS exchange producer agreements for the 2014 plan year expire Sept. 30, 2014.
Once producers get 2015 registration, the 2015 registration is supposed to last until Nov. 12, 2015. The open enrollment period for the 2015 plan year is set to start Nov. 15, 2014, and last until Feb. 15, 2015.
In the online registration guide, CCIIO officials walk would-be exchange producers through the details of the 2015 registration process.
Health Agents for America Inc. (HAFA), an agent group, has e-mailed members a copy of a letter from Angelica, an insurance distributor who scoffs at the exchange managers' registration instructions. "Thanks," Angelica writes, "but I do not need to understand how to register. My agents and brokers worked 24-7 to get the consumers enrolled, without the direction of the Federal Government!"
HAFA and other agent groups have been trying to get HHS exchange managers to give them access to the same instructional materials and newsletters they send to nonprofit exchange helpers, and to add registered exchange agents and brokers to the list of exchange helpers who can get entries in the HealthCare.gov website "local help" referral system.