The public exchange system also seems to be gaining individual market share.

Insurance agents and brokers may account for a bigger share of individual major medical insurance sales today than they did last year, or the year before that.

Consumers who bought their own health coverage for 2016 are more likely to say they got it through a producer.

A survey team at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation regularly asks U.S. adults ages 18 to 64 where they got their health coverage. The latest poll results come from surveys done from Feb. 10 through Feb. 18, 2016.

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Only 8 percent of the consumers who participated in the latest poll said they had bought their own individual or family commercial plan coverage. But 38 percent of the participants with their own coverage said they got it through an agent or broker.

The percentage of consumers with individual or family coverage who said they bought it through a producer is up from 33 percent in March 2015, and up from less than 17 percent in February 2014.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system accounted for about 38 percent of the individual and family coverage holders this year. That’s up from less than 17 percent in February 2014, but it’s down from 44 percent in March 2015.

About 25 percent of the current individual and family coverage holders bought the coverage directly from the carriers. That’s up from 22 percent in March 2015, but it’s down from 67 percent in February 2014.

One limitation is that the number of consumers with self-purchased coverage in each Kaiser survey is small. Changes in the numbers could reflect real changes in distribution channel use, but they could also reflect random fluctuations in the data. 

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