A recent article in The New York Times states Americans who signed up for ObamaCare find their policies complicated and have difficulty understanding them.

To quote Resources for Human Development program coordinator Rebecca Cashman, “It’s not like you enroll and, voila, you immediately know how to use it.”  Actually, if Ms. Cashman’s program members had used an exchange-certified broker or agent, then, voila, they would have understood how to use their policies.  Ms. Cashman went on to say, “There are a lot of people who really have some big questions about ‘what now?’”

Exchange certified agents go through more than ten hours of training and testing in an effort to make sure they understand the exchange rules, subsidies and policies.   The National Association of Health Underwriters certifies agents and has an Agent Finder tool on its website to help consumers in finding qualified brokers and agents to assist them in qualifying for subsidies and purchasing health insurance.

Ms. Salwa Shabazz who is epileptic stated she didn’t understand the plan when she chose it and that her doctors were not in her plan.  She states, “None of that was explained when I signed up.”   Once again, had Ms. Shabazz been counseled by a certified broker or agent, she would have clearly understood that she had purchased a plan with a narrow provider network and would have known that her doctors were not included.

To solve this problem, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is launching a new project named “From Coverage to Care.”  What’s fascinating about this effort along with The New York Times article is that not once are brokers or agents referred to anywhere as a free resource for consumers who would solve 90 percent of the problems people face in understanding the health insurance process.

We don’t need another government program.  We do need the government to stop stonewalling brokers and agents and to recommend us as a resource for assisting consumers in the purchase of health insurance as we have done in my agency for the last 16 years.

Cary Hall

America’s Healthcare Advocate