Meet the Government's Health Insurance Salesmen
The government announced last week that it's spending $67 million on staff known as "navigators" to help people enroll in health insurance for next year. But at the same time, it has handed off the enrollment baton to insurance sales agents and brokers, whom insurance companies pay for signing people up for their plans.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reached agreements with at least five online health insurance brokers, making it possible for people to get their health plans there instead of on the government exchanges--similar to the way consumers can shop for airfare on Expedia or Orbitz rather than buying tickets directly from the airlines.
Among the brokers, which primarily sell individual health plans, are eHealth(EHTH), Towers Watson (TW), HealthCompare, Getinsured, ConnectedHealth and GoHealth. And there may be others. CMS says it can't yet confirm how many brokers have received authorization to enroll eligible consumers in tax-subsidized health plans in the 36 states where the government will operate health insurance exchanges starting Oct. 1.
(WSJ.com - Aug. 22, 2013)