About half of the kinds of politically aware health insurance agents who belong to agent groups may be thinking about selling public exchange coverage.

When the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors conducted a survey of 600 health agent members two weeks ago, it found that 56 percent of the health agents who responded expect to be selling Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange plans this fall.

About 54 percent of the NAIFA health agent members who participated in the survey live in states in which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is running the exchange program.

In those states, 50 percent of the health agents who want to sell exchange plans already have gone through the CMS exchange agent training program.

Another 29 percent of the health agents in the CMS exchange states plan to take the CMS exchange agent training soon.

In the states with state-run exchanges, about 59 percent of the agents expect to sell exchange plans.

About 10 percent of the agents who participated in the survey said they expect hospitals, pharmacies, doctors and other health care providers to send confused consumers and business owners their way.

In Missouri, for example, one hospital system has formally agreed to refer patients who need help understanding the exchange program to NAIFA members, the group says.

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