The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says 30,000 people may work as certified application counselors (CACs) during the 2015 open enrollment period. A CAC is one type of worker who can help a consumer sign up for “qualified health plan” (QHP) coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange system.

The 2015 individual QHP enrollment period is set to start Nov. 15, 2015. CMS — an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — runs the exchange program for HHS.

A year ago, when CMS officials released regulations for the 2014 open enrollment period, they suggested in a regulation impact analysis that all PPACA exchanges combined might work with a total of about 8,700 CACs.

This year, CMS officials say in a paperwork impact analysis that they expect the HHS-run exchanges to work with 19,400 CACs and the state-based exchanges to work with 10,600 CACs.

Officials now estimate the labor of CAC to have a value of $26.65 per hour. That was the same value officials gave a CAC’s time a year ago. A year ago, officials said they were basing the estimated CAC wage rate on a typical wage rate for government program eligibility assistance interviewers.

See also: 

Nevada exchange spends $199 per sale

Agent group says they’re ignored by CMS on guidance

Exchanges get counselor guidance