Consumer Advocates Wary Of New Marketplace Rules For Brokers

Signing up for coverage on the health insurance marketplace should be easier for some people this fall because new federal rules will allow brokers and insurers to handle the entire enrollment process online, from soup to nuts. Some consumer advocates are concerned, though, that customers going this route won’t get the comprehensive, impartial plan information they need to make the best decision due to the financial self-interest of insurers and brokers.

“Facilitating the participation of brokers and getting web brokers involved is a good thing for the market,” said Timothy Jost, emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia and an expert on health reform. But there are risks for consumers. “If you’re enrolling with a web broker, you could see ‘best deals’ that often aren’t the best deal for you but are the best deal for the people who are marketing them.”

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