B. Ronnell Nolan is in one of those strange positions that top brokers often find themselves in.
She represents passionate producers who are working themselves into a state of dire unwellness … to sell health insurance for an organization that seems to despise them.
She is president of Health Agents for America (HAFA), a group that has been trying to help producers communicate with the Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). CCIIO is the arm of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that manages implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commercial health insurance market provisions for CMS, and for CMS’s parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Before the PPACA public exchange system opened, managers of the state-based exchanges were open about their interest in eliminating agents’ share of the U.S. health care cost pie.
See also: Vermont comp proposal: $15 per person per month
Managers of other state-based exchanges, and the HHS exchange program, seemed to want to build a strong, business-like relationship with producers.
See also: Feds: Our exchanges will work with producers
In late 2013 and early 2014, when the first PPACA major medical open enrollment period started, some of the more arrogant exchanges, including the exchange in Vermont, were brought low by technical problems with enrollment websites. They depended heavily on producers for help with bringing in applications.
This year, a few state-based exchanges have published data suggesting that exchanges may be getting a high percentage of their enrollees through producers.
HHS brought in Kevin Counihan, a highly respected private exchange and Connecticut state-based exchange veteran, to run the exchange program, including oversight of the exchanges HHS runs through the HealthCare.gov system.
HAFA members were hoping Counihan would help improve the exchange-producer relationship.
For a look at what Nolan has seen actually happen this year, during the second PPACA open enrollment period, read on.