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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says agents and brokers have an incentive to help small employers jump into the public exchanges early.

Employers that sign up for Small Business Health Options Program plans during an annual special enrollment period — from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 — can get coverage without meeting the standard 70 percent employee participation minimum.

CMS mentioned the special enrollment period provision in a fact sheet for exchange agents and brokers who will help employers enroll.

One possible headache: Producers will have to help employers decide whether to contribute the same amount for each employee — or pay an age-based premium.

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