(AP photo/J. David Ake)

Many of the exchange “assister programs” that tried working with insurance agents and brokers found producers to be “very helpful.” Analysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation have reported that finding in a summary of results from a recent online survey of “marketplace assister” programs.

The analysts included navigators, in-person assisters, certified application counselors, grant-supported health clinics, and federal enrollment assistance programs in their definition of “marketplace assister programs.” The analysts received responses from 843 of the 4,445 programs that were invited to participate, and 107 of those 843 programs said they had tried getting help from agents and brokers.

The share of survey participants that said they sought technical assistance and found that resource to be very helpful ranged from 73 percent for state primary care physician associations down to 21 percent for health insurer customer service call centers.

Brokers and agents ranked in the middle, with a 40 percent very-helpful rating. Other sources of assistance with similar very-helpful marks included the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration, tax preparation organizations, and private organization technical support programs. Other assister programs and miscellaneous sources of help received substantially higher marks.

State insurance departments and state Medicaid agencies did worse than insurance agents and brokers, but better than health insurer call centers.

About 92 percent of the programs said working with producers was either very or somewhat helpful. By that measure, producers performed about as well as most other sources of technical assistance.

Tax preparation organizations, health insurer call centers and state Medicaid agencies were noticeably less likely to be viewed as at least somewhat helpful.

See also: PPACA exchanges may work with agents more