The Access Health CT board approved two separate broker comp measures. (Image: Covered California)

The board of Access Health CT today voted unanimously to require exchange plan issuers to pay broker commissions during the 2018 open enrollment period, to increase the percentage of exchange users who get help from brokers.

Related: ACA subsidies cut many Connecticut exchange users’ net costs

Board members also voted unanimously to approve a separate measure requiring exchange plan issuers to pay the same commissions for on-exchange and off-exchange sales of the same plan, according to an exchange representative.

The state-based Affordable Care Act exchange is on track to have 107,736 exchange plan enrollees for 2017, and enrollment is about 11 percent higher than it was Nov. 1, when the open enrollment period for 2017 started, exchange managers say. The open enrollment period is set to end Tues., Jan. 31, 2017.

The number of Connecticut exchange issuers fell to two this year, from four for 2016, and neither of the remaining issuers pays broker commissions. The percentage of exchange users getting help from brokers fell to 25 percent this year, from 50 percent in 2016, according to a board meeting presentation.

How the Connecticut exchange really operates next year will depend on external factors, such as the outcome of efforts in Washington to repeal or change the current ACA health insurance system.

In other ACA exchange board meeting news, the staff of Covered California, California’s state-based exchange, said the exchange is on track to have about 1.6 million enrollees in 2017, up from 1.5 million for 2015.

The exchange ended 2016 with 4,045 employer groups using its Small Business Health Options Program coverage. The employers were using the SHOP program to cover a total of 30,623 enrollees, or 7.6 enrollees per employer.

SHOP enrollment was 26 percent higher than in 2015, the exchange staff said.

The exchange has 14,963 certified agents, or 2.3 percent more than it had a year earlier.

The staff said the exchange sent out all of the Form 1095-C exchange coverage information reports it was supposed to provide by Jan. 15.

That was an improvement over 2016 1095-C performance. At Covered California’s January 2016 board meeting, the exchange staff said the exchange staff had sent out about 60 percent of the required 1095-C’s by the middle of the month and hoped to send out the rest by the end of the month.

Managers of a consumer survey program found that the main obstacles to sales were the cost of coverage and consumer confusion, not consumer worries about the effects of the changes in Washington on the exchange program.

Peter Lee, the Covered California executive director, said during the meeting that the exchange is watching Washington closely.

“Obviously, we’re going to enter uncertain times,” Lee said.

Lee said Covered California hopes to react to any actual changes quickly, but that it want to act based on real changes, not based on rumors or speculation.

Related:

Insurer sues Connecticut regulators over 2017 rate cut ruling

Connecticut exchange OKs special enrollment verification

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