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Web broker signs exchange agent agreement

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Web broker eHealth Inc. is one step closer to selling “qualified health plans” through the new public health insurance exchanges.

The company, the parent of the Web-based health insurance supermarket, recently signed an agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that calls for eHealth to get access to a new CMS “data hub.”

CMS is creating the hub to help exchanges determine whether applicants are eligible for government health programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid, or whether the applicants are eligible for the new PPACA health insurance tax credit subsidies.

Per the agreement, eHealth has pledged to meet the standards CMS is setting for the companies that will help people enroll in the federally facilitated exchanges to be run by CMS.

The company has to have producer licenses in every state in which it sells federal exchange plans.

Before eHealth can enroll people in the QHPs, it must connect with the federal exchange program and set up a QHP shopping system on its website, the company said.

The company noted in a document filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission that any company that wants to be an FFE agent or broker will have to enter into a CMS agent agreement.

The risks and uncertainties associated with the federal exchange program include the need to develop a web system that complies with CMS standards, the need to meet CMS privacy and security requirements, and the need to connect with the CMS data hub, eHealth said.

“The company cannot ensure that it will be able to enroll individuals into qualified health plans at the beginning of the initial enrollment period on Oct. 1, 2013, or within any other specific timeframe,” the company said. 

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