Fewer than 50,000 registered brokers and agents helped 3.6 million customers sign up for an ACA plan in 2018.
In 2017, 65,300 agents helped consumers; a YOY decrease of 24.8 percent, according to a CMS report.
Fewer agents didn’t mean a significant drop in ACA plan sales – enrollment decreased less than 4 percent, from 3.7 to 3.66 million in 2018 ; brokers and agents continue to be influential, supporting 42 percent of exchange plan customers.
The report’s key highlights included,
Despite significant improvements to the agent and broker program, lack of competition in the Exchanges and limited availability of commissions continues to pose challenges to the agent and broker community.
CMS has attempted to attract and retain agents and brokers introducing in 2018 a “Help on Demand” tool connecting consumers with state-licensed agents.
The tool has been well received, but what brokers and agents really want is to be compensated for the assistance provided to ACA customers.
Based on agent and broker feedback, the limited availability and competitiveness of Exchange plans and lack of commissions were the strongest drivers behind their decision not to participate on the Federal platform in the future. Without a viable compensation structure for agents and brokers, it may be difficult for CMS to improve or stabilize agent and broker retention and achieve significant enrollment gains – leaving consumers with diminished access to insurance specialists willing to help them in their local communities.
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Click here for CMS’ The Exchange Trends Report