The sales plumbing could change in 2016, but this year, insurance agents and brokers continue to operate one of the top pipes for getting health insurance out to buyers.
Analysts at Array Health, a private exchange technology vendor, give a glimpse of the current state of health insurance distribution in a report based on survey responses from 88 benefits industry players, including representatives from about 25 health insurers.
This year, 76 percent of the participating health insurers are selling health insurance through agents and brokers.
The other big pipe is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system: 76 percent of the health insurer survey participants said their companies are selling health insurance through HealthCare.gov and its state-based sisters this year.
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Array Health found that 57 percent of the participating health insurers sell products directly to consumers, and 56 percent use single-insurer private exchange systems.
Just 32 percent use private exchange systems.
But 75 percent of the insurers expect to at least be using a single-company private exchange system by 2016, and only 7 percent said they would never use a private exchange system.
About 41 percent of the insurers hope to use single-insurers exchange systems to sell plans to small groups. Only about one-quarter expect to use single-insurer exchanges to sell coverage to individuals or to large groups.