Brokers, insurers and public exchange managers in Colorado are talking about whether, and how, a public exchange can use broker rewards programs to promote sales of exchange plans.
Members of the board policy committee at Connect for Health Colorado (C4HCO) discussed exchange plan producer incentive program principles Monday during a meeting, according to a meeting packet posted on the exchange website.
The state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange increased enrollment in Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) plans to 2,797 covered lives this year, up 50 percent from the 2014 SHOP covered-life total. The exchange has been trying to push for much higher SHOP enrollment for 2016 and 2017.
Originally, the Colorado exchange board agreed not to have the exchange pay broker commissions. The board wanted the participating plan issuers to take responsibility for paying the commissions.
But, this past summer, several carriers announced an incentive program aimed only at brokers who sold off-exchange group plans.
One carrier stopped paying broker commissions in the fourth quarter, and another carrier stopped paying broker commissions on sales of gold plans.
“The forces of a very competitive insurance market are resulting in the marketplace being driven by carrier compensation decisions,” the exchange managers say in the slidedeck. “C4HCO does not wish or aspire to pay commissions, but felt it does need tools in the sales toolkit to focus sales efforts and attention.”
In the summer, exchange managers developed a “non-incentive, non-commission” awards program that rewards brokers for meeting sales and retention goals.