Oregon shows insurance agents are vital to state exchange

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The state’s Health Insurance Exchange intends to train and utilize insurance agents to assist residents and small businesses that are uninsured to find the right plans by 2014 when the new health care mandate goes into effect.

What has still not yet been entirely defined is specifically what role the agents will play and how that will influence consumers who could depend on them for their advice and suggestions.

The Oregon Health Insurance Exchange board met last Thursday and, according to Kim Wirtz, an exchange staff member, they intend to rely on insurance agents to make sure that it’s possible for individuals and small businesses to gain access to the information they need, even in populations that are considered to be more difficult to reach.

The agents will be able to help those businesses and individuals to select health insurance plans that are best suited to their specific needs. These individuals generally receive commission from the insurance company that is eventually selected, depending on the number of plans that are sold.

In Oregon, there are currently about 13,000 licensed insurance agents.

The board felt that it made sense to use agents for the exchange, as they are already established throughout the state, have a foundation knowledge about health insurance, and can help people to learn about the exchange and the coverage they need to buy by 2014 when the mandate from the healthcare reforms takes effect. This will be vital to the success of the exchange over the long term. Though it currently receives federal grant funding, in 2014 it will be required to generate its own revenue for financial self-sufficiency.

According to the business plan for the health insurance exchange in that state…

an administrative fee of 2.52 percent will provide the revenue source that it requires in order to survive after the federal grant. This insurance news is the equivalent of approximately $16 per person who participates in the exchange. In order to be fully self-sustaining, the exchange will need to have enrolled between 100,000 and 125,000 people by the time the year 2015 comes to a close.

Article: Oregon shows insurance agents are vital to state exchange
Article Sources: Live Insurance News – Oregon Health Insurance Exchange
Author: Julie Campbell

Oregon shows insurance agents are vital to state exchange

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