The big web broker entities that connect their computer systems directly with HealthCare.gov have no interest whatsoever in playing a major role in policing retail agents and brokers.
The Association of Web-Based Health Insurance Brokers, a Washington-based trade group for the web brokers, makes that clear in a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
In the letter, the association says many of the proposed web broker rules in draft HealthCare.gov rules CMS released in August would be difficult or impossible to follow.
CMS, an arm of the U.S. Department of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, set up HealthCare.gov to provide ACA exchange plan enrollment and exchange account administration services in states that are unwilling or unable to provide the services themselves.
Some of the web brokers that connect to HealthCare.gov do so to support their own private exchange programs or other in-house programs, but others share their HealthCare.gov pipes with retail agents and brokers.
In the August HealthCare.gov rules draft, the web broker association gives proposed website display standards as an example of provisions that are “unachievable.”
The draft would, for example, require that web brokers display all standardized exchange plan options in a manner consistent with how HealthCare.gov displays the options. Web brokers cannot necessarily do that, because they may not have the contractual relationships they need to get all of the same information HealthCare.gov gets, web broker association says.
The web broker association also wants CMS to change a web broker auditing proposal.
Having web brokers pay outside firms to audit compliance with privacy and data security requirements might make sense, but CMS should wait until it improves web brokers’ ability to enroll in HealthCare.gov exchange plans directly, without funneling consumers to HealthCare.gov for a cumbersome part of the process, the association says.
Web brokers that can’t yet use a better enrollment process may not have the cash to pay extra auditors, the association says.
The association also writes at length about a CMS proposal to make a web broker responsible for monitoring the websites of retail agents and brokers that use the web broker’s HealthCare.gov pipes.
For more about what the association said about the proposal, read on: