Managers of the remaining, battle-hardened state-based public health insurance exchanges are battening down the hatches as they prepare for the Nov. 1 start of the third Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) open enrollment period.

See also: 5 mysterious 2016 open enrollment period wildcards

Federal aid is running out. In most states, state funding is hard to come by. Insurers and other interested parties are less interested in whether an exchange can enroll a consumer in coverage without crashing and more interested in whether if it is meeting concrete enrollment and service goals.

Some exchange program managers are hoping stronger agent and broker relations will help, especially in the small-group market.

For a look at what managers of three state-based exchanges are saying about their producer outreach programs, read on.

Covered California

1. Covered California

The big producer news in California is that Covered California there is starting to get control over its agent commission payment problem.

Exchange agents have been complaining about long payment delays.

Now, the exchange staff says, the agents who serve small groups are getting commissions paid on a regular basis. The staff said at a recent board meeting that the exchange has paid the agent commissions owed through July and as in the process of paying commissions for August and September.

The exchange also has eliminated a $500,000 premium cap on small-group commission calculations. The exchange will pay the regular 5 percent commission for the first $1 million in small-group commissions, and an 0.8 percent commission on any small-group premiums over a $1 million cut-off.

The exchange has a total of about 13,000 certified agents. 

co

2. Connect for Health Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s state-based exchange, has been holding broker re-engagement meetings.

The exchange certified 1,330 brokers for the 2015 open enrollment period. The number of brokers certified for this year is 16 percent lower than the number certified for the first open enrollment period, but the number of effectuated exchange enrollments per certified broker has increased to about 50, from 30 during the first open enrollment period.

For 2016, for the third open enrollment period, about 1,300 brokers have already been getting training and learning about the exchange lead-generation tool, according to the exchange staff.

Brokers helped about 40 percent of enrollees for the 2015 plan year. The exchange is hoping to increase that percentage to 50 percent for the 2016 plan year.

mnsure

3. MNsure

MNsure, Minnesota’s state-based exchange, says it has re-certified 525 brokers who have worked with it before and certified 105 brokers who are new to the exchange system.

The exchange will have agents and brokers staff 18 in-person enrollment centers for 2016, up from six for 2015. The enrollment centers will help small employers set up Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) group plans.